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The Land of the Living

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Feverish Matt is one of the five most difficult Matts to deal with, in Foggy’s not inconsiderable experience. “Recently returned from the dead but still dead inside Matt” vies with “actively bleeding out Matt” for the top spot, but feverish Matt consistently ranks high on the list.

As luck would have it (good luck, in Foggy's opinion; bad luck in Matt's, he’s sure), Matt's dramatic swooning spell had taken place in the offices of Nelson, Murdock, and Page. Which, being in cozy proximity to the Nelson household, means Matt is currently lying in Foggy’s childhood bed with flushed cheeks, a sweaty brow, and a frown creasing his pretty face.

The dramatic swooning happened yesterday. (And it was awfully dramatic; Karen ended up with her arms locked around Matt's chest, staggering under the weight of delirious vigilante, having caught him just before he hit the floor.) Foggy spent last night on his parents’ couch. Tonight he’ll be bunking down on those floral cushions flattened by generations of Nelson asses once again. He could sleep in his very nice bed in his very nice apartment with his very nice girlfriend, but that would mean leaving his parents to deal with the inevitable moment when feverish Matt tries to make a break for it, and he can't do that.

“Foggy,” Matt says, “Foggy,” and reaches out a hand. Foggy accepts his hot, germy fingers, because if Matt needs touch he’s gonna give it to him, but he’s also going to hand sanitize the shit out of himself later. ‘We’ll - keep it down tonight,” Matt says earnestly. “Quiet. Promise. Mmm.”

“Of course you will, buddy,” Foggy says, giving his hand a gentle squeeze.

Matt clings like a limpet. Whatever the hell a limpet actually is. “I'll tell Elektra to whisper,” he says, head rolling on the pillow like he’s trying to make sure Foggy can see his face. “I will.”

“I believe you,” Foggy says softly, giving Matt's hand one last squeeze, then carefully detaching himself from that desperate grip. “Get some rest.”

He has to go. He has a call to make.


At first Sister Maggie reacts with silence. Foggy’s on the verge of repeating himself, in case the signal’s bad - all those stone walls can't be great for reception, right? - when she finally breaks it: “He did this when he was in - when he was recovering,” she says quietly. She couldn’t bring herself to say “in a coma”, Foggy suspects; did she not want to fully acknowledge the dangerous risk she’d taken, keeping a man that injured in an orphanage infirmary?

Like mother, like son, perhaps: risks.

“Elektra was with him when the building fell. At least that’s what he said. Paul - Father Lantom - said it was impossible, that she died long before that, but -”

“No,” Foggy says, thinking back to that awful day in the police station - She killed Stick, Matt said - and all the things he learned from Luke afterwards. “No, it’s entirely possible.”

“If he's dreaming about her and you wake him up, he’ll cry,” Sister Maggie says very matter-of-factly, not like she's trying to sway Foggy towards one course of action or another, but simply letting him know what to expect.

Crying Matt makes Foggy want to cry, but he's certainly not the hardest Matt to be faced with, all things considered.

“If he's talking to her, but appears to be awake,” she sounds more hesitant now, “you may not be able to snap him out of it. And if you try, he'll be angry.”

And angry Matt can so easily mean violent Matt. “Is that something that’s happened before?” Foggy asks. “Have you seen Matt hallucinate?”

Another silence. “He was in and out for so long,” Maggie finally says, “and I didn't always know what I was looking at.”

Sounds a little like a “maybe,” and a even more like a “yes”. Abruptly, Maggie says, “I have to go. It's time to put the little ones to bed.”

“Oh. Of course, “ Foggy says. “Sister - I'll take care of him.”

“I know you will,” she says, sounding so like her son for a moment it makes Foggy catch his breath: so much faith in him, running above such a current of doubt in herself.


“Foggy,” Matt says hoarsely. He's propped up on one wobbly elbow, sipping water through a straw. He looks ready to faceplant into the pillows at any moment, but it’s progress. “I hope you didn't hear us last night, I told her to be quiet -”

“No, buddy, it’s fine,” Foggy says quickly. “You didn't disturb a soul. It's all good.”

“I didn’t even know -” His eyes flutter to the left. “It was just so good to see her, Foggy.”

Foggy commandeers the water seconds before it slips right out of Matt's grasp. “I know,” he says, patting his hand. “I know.”


It's Christmas Eve, and Foggy’s doing his familial duty by eating the cookies his little cousins left out for Santa. He's pretty sure the oldest knows they’re for him; she shot him a look as she piled a few extra on the snowman-shaped plate. The girls aren't actually here tonight, tucked up in their beds a few blocks away, but they've been raised to believe that Santa likes delivering to Foggy's parents’ place the best because their tree is the biggest - although Foggy suspects the oldest has figured out that it's really about them having plenty of storage space in the back of the shop, perfect for hiding presents away from nosy youngsters.

Matt did fairly well with his dinner earlier that night, steadily sipping away at his chicken noodle soup until nearly three-fourths of it was gone, so Foggy decides he’ll peek in and offer Matt a nice, soft cookie or two if he's awake. A little sugar is always good for the immune system. Slowly, Foggy cracks open the door -

- and nearly chokes on the cookie ill-advisedly hanging out of his own mouth.

Elektra Natchios. In the actual flesh. Propped up in his bed, curled up around Matt like a fierce, beautiful cat, with her sleek head resting on the pillow Foggy had once hidden his teeth under for the Tooth Fairy.

Except she definitely isn't the Tooth Fairy, or Santa Claus either.

“Don't wake him,” Elektra says softly. “He needs his rest.”

“Yes. I'm aware,” Foggy snaps, a little too loudly for a guy trying not to wake up a friend with supersenses, but cut him some slack, there are mitigating circumstances here.

The most surprising thing about this moment is not that a woman thought to be buried under tons of rubble is in point of fact alive - for whatever definition of alive correctly applies - but how glad Foggy actually to see her. It means Matt's doing better than he feared, both physically and mentally, and relief concerning Matt’s well-being trumps “deadly ninja in my bed”, apparently.

“Just to be sure I’m up to date. This is the third night you’ve spent in my parents’ apartment?”

“Yes. You’re welcome.”

What?” Foggy hisses.

Matt stirs slightly in Elektra’s arms; she slips her fingers through his hair and he subsides, nestling into her side. “You didn’t think Matthew had suddenly become a good patient by accident, did you?”

Foggy sighs. “I guess not. And if you're the reason I haven't had to go chasing him through the streets of Hell’s Kitchen... then fine. Thank you. Question, though: how many weapons have you brought into my parents’ home?”

She arches her eyebrows in precisely the same manner that she used to in college. Elektra has never needed to use words to call him an idiot. It's comforting; it makes Foggy feel like this really is the same person he knew at twenty-two. He just knows more of her, now.

Just like he knows more of Matt.

“How many weapons in total,” Elektra inquires, “or tonight?”

He sighs again. “I guess weapons that aren't here right now can't hurt anyone, so tonight’s tally will do.”

“Two,” Elektra says promptly, pointing down at the floor, where Foggy spots two lethal-looking blades poking out from under the bed.

“Great. Another question -” She shoots him a glare, and Foggy bristles before he realizes it’s because his voice has crept upwards again. More quietly, he says, “May I ask how long you've been in the land of the living?”

“I'm not sure.” Looking down, Elektra gently strokes the curve of Matt's cheek with the pad of her thumb. “I didn't really notice until I learned Matthew was alive.”

Her tone catches Foggy like a fish hook between the ribs. She sounds so eerily like one of the most difficult Matts, carelessly unconcerned with her own existence…. Matt had told Foggy more than once that he just didn't understand Elektra. Maybe the more Foggy comes to understand Matt, the more that, too, is changing?

He lets out a long, deep breath. “Matt won't feel like coming down for gifts in the morning. It's too loud and chaotic even when all his systems are a go. But tomorrow night….” God, Matt looks so comfortable in her arms. His brow is smooth, his face relaxed; he's content, and that feels as rare as any frankincense or myrrh could ever be. “I know my mom’s hoping he'll make it down for dinner.” One more deep breath. “There'll be place beside him for you, if you want to take it.”

“That's very generous of you, Franklin.” He's shocked her, he thinks. Good. Nice to be able to do that to Elektra Natchios every once in a while. “How many -”

“If you're going to ask how many weapons you can bring, the answer is zero. Zero weapons,” Foggy says.

“ - bottles of wine should I bring,” she says slowly, arching her brows once again.

She's so full of shit. Foggy can't help but bite back a smile. “Plenty,” he says. “I have a feeling I'm gonna be thirsty.”


Foggy’s mother is delighted to hear Matt’s special lady friend (her words) is coming to dinner. When Matt finds out (which is actually after Anna Nelson finds out, because Foggy’s a smart boy and tells his mom she’s cooking for an extra guest as soon as humanly possible, long before Matt wakes up that morning), he blushes and stutters and starts a dozen sentences he can't finish. A full half of them seem to be some version of “sorry Elektra was in your house”, and eventually he manages to say that dinner really isn’t necessary, and in fact he could just stay up here in bed, it’s fine?

“Theo and I will move your fainting couch down to the dining room if we must,” Foggy declares cheerfully, buoyed by the color in Matt’s cheeks, and the fact that he’s sitting up in bed, scarfing down scrambled eggs, “but you’re coming to dinner, and Elektra has already RSVP’d, so get over it, it’s happening.”

Matt fiddles with his sleeve. “I didn't know she was alive, Fog,” he says quietly. “I wasn't - holding anything back, I didn't know.”

“I know,” Foggy says, equally softly. “I'm not so sure she knew she was, either.”

Elektra is punctual. This puts her in Foggy’s father’s good graces: he’s not a man who likes to wait for his turkey and stuffing. Foggy’s mother is charmed by Elektra’s ambassador’s-daughter manners, stunned by her general goddess-walking-the-earth-among-us vibe, and charmed all over again by her devotion to Matt. When Elektra anticipates the moment Matt wobbles on his way into the dining room, steadying him with a quiet hand to his back before he can ever truly stumble, she makes a fan of Anna Nelson for life.

And okay, the devotion is getting to Foggy a little, too. Three nights in Foggy’s childhood bedroom? Dinner with Foggy’s parents? He’s not quite sure he’s on board the Elektra Natchios train, but maybe he’s getting closer to showing up at the station. The four bottles of extremely good wine she brings - two whites, two reds, all very, very expensive - don’t exactly hurt, either.

But it's the Matt that’s sitting between him and Elektra - tired but smiling, fading a little after being out of bed for the first time in days, but looking so damn happy - that truly makes Foggy's heart swell. He’d never truly believed that a Matt with Elektra at his side could be one of the top five most content and happiest Matts, but here he is all the same.

Foggy tips his glass slightly towards the heavens, a silent thanks and a silent plea: long may happy Matt stick around.