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put them up (those dog tags)

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War is shit. Everyone comes into it with bright eyes and a dream to help protect their country. Matt has seen countless soldiers lose the light in their eyes, seen too many of his own get shot down or blown to high hell.

He’s watched each soldier lose the light when he’s leading them through hundred-degree heat with sixty pounds strapped to their back as they all trudged through shit, literally.

He’s watched all of his friends die, held many of them as they took their last choked and blood-filled breath and left him alone once again.

Yet, he still relishes in the fact that there are no complicated rules, no need to think, just aim and shoot when your commander tells you, and at times, he can let the devil out.

He’s been on a myriad of missions, all of them seeming to be worse than the last, but this one was plain boring.

Trekking through the desert, guarding a wagon carrying who the hell knows what and absolutely nothing going on around them. Just the sun pressing down on their backs and his subordinates that followed him as they bickered with each other.

Then to his right, he heard the familiar click of a trigger being pushed, and he dropped while screaming out a “get down!” He watched as four of his squad hesitated to fall and get blown away by the debris in the explosion that had been set off.

Matt stood and gripped his assault rifle tightly, and he rushed towards the explosion site, looking through the scope.

He pulled the trigger when he saw movement and heard the tell-tale shout of pain from someone getting shot. Everything went to shit right after he dashed back to the truck to have the limited safety it provided.

Matt watched as a group of at least twenty people came through the dust of the explosion, all of them holding some sort of rifle. Matt watched helplessly as they formed a line and shot at the truck and tried to shoot through it and get to them.

He looked to his left and winced when he saw one of his subordinates fall, blood pooling around their head from the bullet that had entered through the back of their skull.

He sniffed and cringed as the pungent scent of chemicals entered his nose and noticed the thick, clear liquid spew from the truck onto the ground.

Matt turned around and peered around the truck, and he grasped his rifle firing off a few shots and watched two bodies fall.

Then he felt it, like a hot knife stabbing him over and over again, he looked down to his left side where his ribs were and saw the blood blooming. He felt himself fall to his knees and his hands dropping to his side, resting on the ground in the chemicals that had been spilled.

Matt collapsed and he moved his hands to clutch his side trying to slow the bleeding, there were tears in his eyes, not from pain or sadness, but ones that were fear, he did not want to go to hell, he knew he would too many sins had been committed for him to go anywhere else.

He reached up and wiped the tears from his eyes, he hissed quietly as he felt them burn from the contact. He took in ragged breaths as his vision began to fade and took in heaving breaths as the blood in his throat tried it’s damnest to choke him.
Matt looked on as his eyesight faded to black and he laid his head back trying his best to fight to stay awake, it didn’t work.

On that day, it was thought all of the soldiers died, it took hours for a new squad to find them and secure the truck. They all watched on as the medic went around to each of the bodies checking their pulses. When the medic reached the final body, pale and his side bloodied from a wound and chemicals splashed all over his face which had caused the skin to blister. The medic sighed and crouched to check his pulse and stiffened.

“Call an E-Vac! Now! This one’s alive!” the medic yelled back at the squad.

The medic applied pressure to the wound which was now bleeding sluggishly, he grabbed the dog tags around his neck and noted the name, Murdock.

The helicopter arrived within the hour, and the medic grunted as he hoisted Murdock up and carried him bridal style to the helicopter before dropping him onto the makeshift gurney and signaling the pilot to set off.

The entire squad watched as the helicopter slowly faded from sight.

||

Matt wasn’t entirely sure if he was dreaming, he felt like he had come in and out of consciousness, but everything was dark and black when he felt like he was lucid.

It still felt like a dream when he felt himself wake up fully, everything was dark. There was cotton wrapped around his face and over his eyes. It was rough and bothered the skin around it.

He grunted as he tried to lift his left arm so he could take off the bothersome cloth. His breath hitched as his arm was held back by some sort of strap connected to what seemed a railing next to him. He roughly pulled against as he tried to get his arm free.

This was not okay, he must have been captured, there was no other explanation for him to be blindfolded and tied down.
Then he heard the signature sound of combat boots enter his space, he struggled more as he tried to break the binds and his breathing grew heavy until he was taking heaving breaths and tears were falling from his eyes.

“Hey, Sunshine.” The man greets his voice was rough, Matt turned his head away from the individual and let out a silent sob.

The man rushed over as he realized what was happening, he crouched beside Matt and softly whispered reassurances to him as he tried to take breaths so he could breathe properly and calm down.

When Matt was finally able to breathe normally, he turned his head towards the person crouching beside him, for some reason he could sense where they were.

“Listen to me, you have not been captured, you are in no danger, you’re in a hospital.” The man provided. Matt took in a few hitched breaths before he nodded in acknowledgment to the statement.

Matt tilted his head as he heard another person walk towards him and he must have surprised them judging by the sound of surprise he heard come from them.

“Lieutenant Murdock, good afternoon.” The nurse greeted, Matt identifying them to be a male.

“As Lieutenant Castle must have told you, you are in a hospital being treated for various injuries. You and your team were ambushed while transporting a package, everyone was shot down including you, but miraculously you survived.” Matt maintained an apathetic look on his face as he listened attentively to the nurse.

“However, you have extensive injuries including multiple lacerations, three cracked ribs, and a bullet wound in your upper left side.” The nurse continued

Matt did not care much about these wounds, “When can I return to duty?” he inquired asking out of curiosity.

He could feel the pity coming off of the nurse in waves, “I apologize Lieutenant Murdock, but the package you were transporting contained hazardous chemicals, and unfortunately while you were unconscious some of the chemicals entered your eye, it took away your eyesight, you’re blind.”

Matt inhaled sharply as everything seemed to fall apart, he could hear everyone’s heartbeat, the whirring on the machines. He could smell the underlying scent of piss and shit under the overwhelming disinfectant smell. He could feel what everyone in the room was doing, the unknown man beside him was standing stock still, and the nurse was talking about something, and holy shit the sudden hand on his shoulder felt like it was burning him.

“Lieutenant Murdock.” He hears a far-away voice call out to him.

Matt felt everything around him return to background noise, but he could still sense everything, it was almost like a second form of sight.

He knows where everything is, he knows what they are doing, he knows how they’re feeling, this is almost better than sight.

“Lieutenant Murdock!” and his thoughts come skidding to a halt, as his head tilts to the side in the form of silent inquiry.

“Do you understand? you are honorably discharged because of wounds sustained in battle.” The nurse continues, and Matt sighs in annoyance.

“No offense sir, but I am perfectly fine, and I may not be able to see, but I don’t need sight, I can perform just as well as I was before this…injury,” Matt stated airily.

“You can think that, but there is no way you are being put back into duty Lieutenant Murdock.” The nurse replied snarkily.

“No, you don’t understand, I can sense things other people can’t. Like I can tell that your slightly nervous because of your heartbeat and that this machinery is four years old.”

The nurse took a step backward at the statement, the things that he had just told the nurse were impossible to know without fantastic technology at work.

Murdock continued his previous statement, “So as you can see I can go back to duty just fine.”

The nurse shook his head before looking at and addressing his patient once again, “I’m sorry Lieutenant Murdock, but it’s not up to me, and I doubt you could shake the higher-ups on this decision.”

“That’s Bullshit! I can tell that you’re lying!” Matt spits out.

In the end that was a mistake because he heard the machine beside him shift and smell a new type of fluid enter his blood, and it didn’t take a scientist to know that it was one meant to knock him out.

He glared unseeingly to the general area of where the nurse stood, and he felt his head loll back against the pillow, and his muscles relax unwillingly before his eyelids drooped and he couldn’t sense anything anymore.

||

Matt supposed his anger on that first day was unwarranted as the nurse was only doing their job. But, since then he had calmed down or at least he did not act like an asshole 24/7 anymore.

Most of the other soldiers were there temporarily, getting treated for their wounds and either being re-enlisted or honorably discharged.

The only constants were the staff, his midnight training sessions, and the soldier he had come to know as Castle. He was the one who had calmed him down the day he woke up, and when Castle had found him going hard at the punching bag at midnight with blisters across his knuckles. He had stood and watched until Matt finally acknowledged him by stopping his frequent jabs at the bag.

They were both on edge, not entirely comfortable with each other, but they both felt a sense of familiarity because of the shit they had both gone through.

They didn’t talk, but Frank approached one of the other punching bags, the farthest one from Matt in fact, and started his own routine of punching the bag with a few different kicks mixed in.

Matt shrugged before continuing his rally of hits, the force behind them slowly grew until the bag was swaying. His knuckles were so bloody that it looked as if there was no skin left on the appendages.

Matt punched the bag one more time and accidentally let out a shout of frustration. He stood there heaving his hands were clenched by his side, and the blood dripped from his knuckles on to the floor.

“You okay there, Sunshine?” Matt startles at the sudden question, he had forgotten that Castle had come and joined him.

Matt nods signifying that he was fine and his stiff posture hardens, even more, when Castle gently grasped one of his hands bringing it up to eye-level so he could look over his knuckles.

Castle sighed before leaving Murdock in the small gym, Murdock stood still listening to the fading footsteps, pause, and the rustling of supplies. When Castle returned he carries a roll of bandages and a small bottle of alcohol, he stood before Matt and held his hand gently.

 

Castle uncapped the bottle before drizzling it onto the wounds that Matt had inflicted on himself. When he could actually see the wounds past the blood, he stopped the stream of the antiseptic before pulling out the bandages that he had taken.

“So, what are you doing here anyway, sunshine?” Castle asks and Murdock stays silent his eyes avoiding Castle’s general direction. He sighed before repeating the question, and Murdock does not have the reaction that he had expected.

“What are you doing here Castle? You’re perfectly fine, why are you still in the hospital.” Murdock asks. Castle proceeds to look down at Murdock’s knuckles and continue to wrap them diligently, maintaining a stoic attitude and refusing to answer the question.

Castle keeps up the façade for a few minutes before he sighs and looks into Murdock’s eyes, “They’re keeping me here for something that the higher-ups want to discuss, something about how I can’t go back out into active duty until they meet with me.”

Matt faces him and attempts to meet Castle’s gaze with his own unseeing one, but he only managed to face in the general direction of his face.

“I got blinded on a mission, we had to protect a secret transport, but leadership didn’t tell us what we were protecting. Just my luck that they were dangerous chemicals and that we were ambushed that day, chemicals got into my eyes and I was blinded by the time anyone found us.”

Castle looked at Murdock before he held out his hand, “Frank Castle.” Murdock’s gaze does not shift but he tentatively reaches out for Frank’s hand and when he feels it he grasps it tightly. “Matt Murdock.”

“So, prince charming, you feel like a spar.” Matt proposed with a chuckle. Frank snorted at that while glancing at Matt’s newly wrapped knuckles, “sure, sunshine.” He responded before rising from his sitting position and over to the mat that was usually used for gentle exercises.

Matt followed his head twitching back and forth as he tried to follow Frank the best he could with only the sound of his footsteps leading him. He paused and circled around Frank mapping out his position by the slight shift in air currents.

Eventually, he arrived at the general area across from Frank and dropped into his boxing stance, he waited for Frank to move so that he would gain the upper hand. Then he felt it, the initial step forward before someone would punch.

Matt was ready and he ducked to the side as a fist passed within five inches of his face judging from the air current. Matt stepped backward and held his neck in a chokehold before throwing his knee into Castle’s stomach, he hurriedly went around to the back of Frank and grabbed one of his arms pulling it back behind him, “I’m not made of glass Frank, take this seriously.”

Matt grunted in surprise as he was flipped over Frank’s back and slammed onto the springy board below them. He quickly supported himself onto his hands and swept one of his legs out and into Frank’s knees successfully unbalancing him.

He quickly wrapped his legs around Castle’s waist and pulled him down onto the mat with him making sure that he landed on his side so he there was no way for him to get up quickly. Matt rolled over onto Frank so that he was on top of him with his arms pinned above him.

Matt breathed heavily while he kept his eyes on Frank with unfocused eyes, Matt grinned before rolling off of him as Frank chuckled. His smile soon dropped as he focused and heard a third heartbeat in the room.

He craned his head off the mat and faced the area where the heart was beating, “Castle, Murdock, show your respect and stand at attention.” Matt and Frank scrambled up from their position and stood with their hands by their sides and heads facing forward unflinching.

“I am here about Castle’s re-enlisting, we would like you to join a Black-Ops team that would go on secret undercover missions.” Frank looks over to the man with interest now, and Matt stays still as to not intrude on the conversation.

Murdock stiffens though at the next statement, “Now, Murdock you were originally going to be asked as well, however, after the accident we crossed you off. But, after seeing you fight Castle we would like you to join the Black Ops team once again.”

Matt stared in the direction of the man somehow managing to maintain a straight face even though there was skepticism coursing through him. He knew that there was no way they would let him back into active duty with his injury now even if he did fight it, but if he took this other man’s offer he would not have to be shipped back to New York and he could stay here.

He was curious as to how Castle would respond to the proposition and waited silently for his answer, but it seemed as if Castle and the higher-ranking man were waiting for Murdock to answer as well. Matt with the same serious look upon his face answered, “Yes sir, I accept your offer.”

Castle’s eyes flick toward Murdock’s position in surprise before returning to the stony expression of the officer before him. The officer turns his focus to Castle putting him under scrutiny, “Lieutenant Castle, your answer?”

Frank has a guarded expression on his face and thinks about how this is most likely the reason that he had to stay at this hell hole of a hospital. Shit about the higher-ups putting him back in active duty when really it was a ploy to get him into Black Ops.

“Yes sir, I accept your offer as well.”

Chapter Text

Matt closed his eyes as sweat dripped down his temple, it was unbelievably hot in the small cramped space they were in. The blindfold they made him wear was not helping, the scratchy cotton irritated his skin. There was no reason for him to have a blindfold, it was a minor distraction, the irritation of the still-healing wounds.

Murdock focused on the heartbeats in the room, there were at least fifteen men were holed up in the makeshift room, all of them smelling of salt and adrenaline. He was seated next to Castle who in turn was sat next to some soldier named Russo.

He could feel the curious looks of the other soldiers in the tent, which was understandable he supposed. The blindfold was a bit inconspicuous if he was, to be honest. His head tilted to the left when he heard Russo’s breathing pick up.

“Hey Castle, who’s this?” He asked.

Castle looked to his left to Russo and followed his gaze to Murdock who looked as if he was frozen, the only thing moving was the minute twitches of his head as he listened to the things surrounding him. Frank had just opened his mouth to answer when Murdock seemed to stiffen even more and turn his head to the doorway.

Frank watched as two men walked in, one wore no uniform and bore a dress shirt and pants. The other had the same uniform all of them had. However, they both carried themselves with confidence as if they had lead hundreds of men to battle.

“Soldiers.” Immediately every one of them fell quiet.

“Success here is a matter of perspective, it can’t be measured in battles won, or land claimed. Gentlemen, I’m here to offer you freedom. To wage to war that must be waged to finally win this thing. What we will do is dirty and tough, but it will speed an end of this war and safeguard our nation.” The man paused before he looked over to the man standing beside him.

“Major Schoonover.” The man in uniform stepped forward before starting his own speech.
“You were all handpicked ‘cause you’re the best at what you do. The inter-unit rivalry has no place here, Berets, Delta, SEALs, Force Recon… I don’t give a shit. This is who we are now. This is Operation Cerberus… and you are my dogs of war.” Schoonover walked back, so he stood beside the non-uniformed man before he continued.

“The enemy operates without honor or regard to rules, so neither will we. Our mission is simple. We capture, interrogate, and execute high-value targets.”

Matt listened as Russo leaned over to Castle and commented.

“Sounds like the Phoenix Program.”
The non-uniformed man glowered at Russo and with an edge in his voice stated, “Do we have a problem with that, gentlemen.”

Castle took a swig of water and shook his head, “Not if Congress doesn’t.”

Matt twitched as the man’s heartbeat skipped minutely as he responded, “They’re fine with it…” he paused, “I’m the only authority you will need, I point, you shoot.”

Castle looked over to the man with a look of questioning in his eyes before Schoonover continued. “Castle, Russo, and Murdock are team leaders. They’ll post all assignments. Any questions?”

Everyone in the room was silent until Russo leaned forward, “Sir… does this mean Ann-Margret's not coming?” Immediately everyone in the room chuckled, and Matt snorted quietly.

“Jackass,” Frank responded, and Russo chuckled.

||

Matt sat on his cot repeatedly assembling and disassembling his rifle while Frank strummed his guitar on the cot next to him and Russo read a book on the bed after Frank’s.

Russo turned to Castle, “So Frank, are you going to introduce me?” Frank didn’t even look up from the strings of his acoustic. “Murdock this Russo, Russo meet Murdock.” Matt nodded in acknowledgment in Russo’s direction, before continuing on his task.

“So, what’s with the blindfold, Murdock,” Russo asked.

Matt sighed before he put down his unloaded gun, “I’m blind… and I would rather not freak people out with my eyes.”

“Whoa, whoa, wait. You’re blind? How and why the fuck are you here?” Russo exclaimed.

Frank chuckled at that and looked over to Russo, “Trust me, Bill, he can knock you on your ass any day. He did that to me barely a week ago with nearly broken hands too.” Russo’s eyebrows raised to his hairline before laughing, “I’d like to see that for myself.”

Frank looked over to Matt who still had his gun propped against the side of his cot, “Murdock, you never explained. How d’you know where we are and what’s going on anyway?”

Matt seemed to perk up at the fact that Frank acknowledged him, “I can’t really explain it really well… it’s almost like echolocation or some shit like that. I can hear your heartbeats and anything else within like 100 yards. Because of that, I know where to point and shoot the gun and can also read peoples movements during hand to hand.”

“Damn Murdock.” Was the first thing that escaped Russo’s mouth after his explanation. “So, you technically know what I’m feeling and where I am?” Matt rolled his eyes behind the blindfold. “Yeah, it’s not that difficult, ‘specially when it comes to you Prince Charming,” Matt smirked.

Matt heard a snort from Frank at the nickname, “he’s got you pegged while being blind and knowing you for only an hour Billy.” Frank chuckled. Matt slowly got up and moved to sit beside Frank on his cot and said Marine shifted a bit to the left to make room.

Russo was the one who returned Murdock’s jab with one of his own, they bantered while Frank continued to play his guitar, chuckling at specific jabs that Billy and Matt shot at each other.
Matt had opened his mouth so that he could deliver the finishing blow to Billy when he felt one of the other soldiers approach them.

“Play any Kenny Rogers on that thing?” the new soldier asks with a thick southern accent. Frank scoffed and responded, “Well, it’s, uh… it’s not really my speed.” The soldier offers his hand and a name, “Gunner Henderson, you’re leading my team. I’ve heard good things ‘bout you.” “Yeah, likewise. Jack Kimber, he’s a friend. He calls you the best breacher he ever saw. I’m excited to watch you work.”

“All here to serve the Lord’s will, my friend.” Matt twitched at the statement trying to block out the thoughts that it provoked, “Hmm. Fair enough.”

“We’re the sword of the righteous. Our aim must be true. Righteousness keepeth him that is upright in the way, but wickedness overthroweth the sinner.” Matt could feel the uneasiness coming from Frank over his own nausea that the words caused, “It’s Proverbs 13:6.” Frank looked away for a second before responding tentatively, “Okay.”

Gunner chuckled, “Your face. I’m messing with you, boss.” And Frank snorted before they traded hands again. Matt was still uncomfortable from the exchange, and while Frank put his guitar away, he quietly slunk back to his bunk so he could leave the two of them alone.

||

Matt could smell the fear coming off of the man they were dragging across the floor, his screams were muffled due to the fabric stuffed into his mouth. They weren’t careful when they dragged him down the stairs letting his body slammed against each step.

When they reached the bottom, he handed the man over to Castle who from what he could hear was tying him up from ropes hanging from the ceiling. He positioned himself in the circle of soldiers that were watching what was going on.

 

He listened as the other soldiers pulled on their hoods, Matt simply shifted his which he had to put on earlier when he dragged the man to the basement. He heard Agent Orange walk forward so that he stood before the man, he slowly reached up and pulled the fabric from the man’s mouth.

Matt listened carefully to what Agent Orange was saying his mind trying to work fast enough to translate the Pashto, “who else knows?” when the man stayed silent Orange raised his hand backhanded the man so hard a crack rang through the room.

“Who else knows?” Orange asked once more, and for the first time the man spoke, “There is still time for you to undo this, I will help you.” Orange sighed in exasperation before clicking his tongue once and gesturing for Matt to approach. In English, he whispered into his ear, “This is what you were brought here for, it’s time for you to break him.”

Matt nodded his head once before he approached the man, Orange was behind him pacing as he watched Matt. When he arrived in front of him he pulled out one of the cases secured on his pants leg, it was thin, it looked like it could not hold anything in it. When opened it showcased ten thin sticks on bamboo, ones that had been explicitly fashioned for him, a gift from Elektra.

He realized that he was too short and the man’s fists were clenched too tight for him to be able to reach them and push the pieces of wood incorrectly. So, he crouched down, so he faced the man’s feet and roughly grabbed one of them, took a piece of bamboo from the case, and pushed it in under the nail slowly.

Matt tried not to wince at the screams that the man released, they sounded like they were coming from a wounded animal, too weak to do anything but howl. He listened as Orange paced behind him repeating the question, the man did not answer, and Matt continued to push in a new stalk, into each appendage.

Orange nodded once as a signal that Murdock was to continue his torture, Matt stood and unsheathed the serrated knife from his pants leg. He laid the blade on the forearm of the man and pressed down, so blood slowly trickled from the cut, but then the man took a breath as if he was going to talk and Matt paused his action.

“There’s still time for you to fix this, please-” the man gets cut off in a scream as Matt digs in the knife and drags it down the man’s forearm. The skin peeled back as if it was flayed, and Matt grabbed the edge slowly peeling it back from the muscle. He tasted nausea in the air from some of the other soldiers as the muscle was revealed spasming as it was exposed to the cold damp air.

“You will answer the question,” Orange asked menacingly, and the man looked around frantically at the soldiers surrounding him. “Do all these men know that I’m a police officer? Are they all a part of this?” Matt stiffened at the sentence as he processed what he had just said. Not wanting to give away that he knew what had been revealed he continued peeling away the skin.

One of the soldiers asked what the man was saying, and he listened as Orange lied, when Gunner inquired further he went shunned. The man looked at Orange once again and began to talk in English, “Please, I’m not a terrorist. I have a family, children-” He was cut off when Matt ripped the skin away more, and he groaned in pain and said, “I am a good man.”

Orange strode forward and grabbed the man by his shirt collar and in Pashto responded, “If you want your family to see another sunrise… you will stop talking. You understand me?” Orange continued the rest in English, “If you don’t know anything…” he looked over to Castle and Murdock stepped away.

“Do it.” Frank stepped forward, and the man begged repeating in English that he had a family. Frank was not moved and raised the gun the man’s temple and fired. Matt didn’t flinch at the sound, nor when the man’s blood sprayed across his face and chest, he stayed stoic letting no emotion show as the man went limp.

When Castle had finished digging the ditch where they were going to leave the man, he immediately went over to Matt. “Damn Red, remind me to not get on your bad side.” Matt tilted his head quizzically, “Red?” Frank’s heart beat a bit faster, “I mean you are covered in blood because of what you did to the man, and I have’ta say the color looks nice on you.” Matt laughed softly at the nickname, before nudging Castle’s shoulder with his own, “Not bad yourself, Castle.”

||

After that time where Matt had to torture that man, he had closed himself off, not letting any of the other shit they had to do affect him. Silently though, he thought about how this stuff didn’t seem right. After that time when Orange lied to Gunner’s face, he no longer trusted a thing the man said. Then there was Castle, who kept the nickname Red.

Slowly Matt began to realize that he was falling for Castle, he despised himself for it because he knew it would never come to fruition. Castle had a wife and children, and from what he knew they were the best damn people on this shithole of a planet. So no, he did not blame them for anything, he did not blame anyone.

Matt was sitting on his bed when he heard Frank sit down and ruffle through papers in his hand. Frank lingered on one before he brought it up to eye-level and tore open the envelope and opened the card inside.

“Shut up.” Frank told himself in disbelief, and he looked away, “Oh, I love my wife. I love my wife.” Matt smiled softly before his attention switched to Billy who approached Frank. “What’d you get?” “Springsteen, playing the Meadowlands. Lady got me tickets for when I get back. Huh? Right?” Frank clapped and rubbed his hands together as Billy looked at the tickets for himself.

“Yo, twenty-nine days and counting man.” Frank smiled “That’s right, you bet your ass.” He said as Billy handed him back the tickets. “What about you Bill? You got plans?” Billy grinned and cheekily responded, “Yeah, yeah, I got some plans.” Frank turned back towards Matt, “You Matt?” and he startled at the fact that he been acknowledged. Matt frowned slightly and shook his head to say no. He heard Frank’s heart speed up at that, but Billy interrupted before Frank could say anything else.

“You know what we should do?” He leaned over and slapped Frank’s knee, “Know what we should do?” And as if karma strikes Schoonover interrupted Billy, “Frank’s gonna head home and read his kids a bedtime story.” He paused, “Need you gentlemen for a briefing in five minutes.”

||

The three of them stood rigid as Schoonover debriefed them on their next mission, “This terrain means that we won’t be able to land near the compound without alerting the enemy, so we are going to be landing here, about two miles away from the building. Once both teams are in position, we’ll hit the compound.”

Billy looked to Frank warily, “No air support?” Orange talked for the first time since they entered, “This is a clandestine mission, Lieutenant Russo. Air support would negate that.” Castle had been silent during the time, and Schoonover focused his attention on him, “You got something to add, Castle?”

“Sir this looks like an ambush.” Orange scrutinized Castle, “And what do you base that sound factual evidence on, Castle?” Frank looked over to Orange and furrowed his eyebrows, “This man has been a target for months, his whereabouts are finally confirmed, we’re not going to get this chance again.”

“So, what now? He’s just here? He’s…He’s just waiting to be caught where there’s no easy exfil? Where the terrain makes it a death trap?” Frank looked over at Matt and continued his sentence, “You got any idea what they call a team like ours? They call us the American Taliban. Because we go in, the middle of the night, people disappear.” Matt felt his blood run cold as if it has just been frozen solid in his veins. “We have been doing this for a year, all right?”

Orange looked at him loftily, “Now look they know about us, they want us dead. I think this is a trap, I think this is a trap because it is exactly what I would do, what Murdock would do, what fuckin’ Russo would do.” Schoonover nods thoughtfully before acknowledging Matt, “Murdock?” he looked to his commander and nodded, “I believe Castle is right, it is a trap.”

Orange buts in, “And I trust hard-earned, thoroughly vetted intelligence. I’ll take my information over the vague notions of the war whisperer over here.” Frank’s heart slows down, “Hey listen to asshole, let me tell you something. You don’t have operational command-”
Schoonover raises his voice, “Wind it down, Lieutenants. Last I checked neither of you are in command.” the three of them nodded solemnly, “Prep your teams.” Frank looks over at their commander, “I think if we do this, men are gonna die.” And Matt stepped closer to Frank at that. Orange looked exasperatedly at Castle. “I pointed, now you shoot.”

||

Matt yelped as his ears rang when another explosion went off, he listened and stayed externally calm as he crouched beside Russo and Castle. “Once they get those mortars in their gonna blow into the god damn ground.” Russo expressed, and Frank looked over at him before responding. “I’m going through that building, clear an E-Vac.”

“Are you out of your mind?!” “What else do you wanna do? You wanna die here? like a rat in a jar?” He looked over at Matt for his next sentence, “It’s about time I had a fair fight.” He stood up for a millisecond to shoot up to the ridges to try and hit something. “I’m going.” “Then I’m coming with you,” Russo told him. Matt stood up as well and shot to the left where he heard someone approaching, and he smirked as he heard a scream of pain as he hit one of the enemies.

“Russo, you can’t, you gotta stay here and keep him safe.” He paused, “Matt you’re coming with me.” He didn’t think it necessary at the moment, but he could smell a bitter scent that almost seemed like betrayal to come off Billy shortly.

Matt stalked quick and hidden as Matt followed him with cat-like movements. He paused and crouched at Schoonover to tell him what he and Matt were about to do, all Matt heard was “I’m gonna do some reapin’ of my own.” Before they were off running towards the building.

They stood back to back as Frank shot and killed all of the enemies in front of them, Matt took it slower listening to the faint heartbeats of their enemies in the surrounding ridges.

It came in segments, almost as if he was in a trance, He remembers killing so many people, and he remembers Frank’s battle cries as he fought through the swarms. Then everything came flooding back, Frank had picked up a rifle off one of their many enemies and was using that now. Then he heard it, the distant shot, the bullet flying through the air, and it goes right into Frank’s shoulder.

Matt even though he was blind, saw red, as Frank slid down the pole he was leaned against, he unsheathed the knife in his pants leg and sprinted across the room. He almost threw himself into the enemies his cat-like grace now completely gone, he stabbed through the eyes and impaled their stomachs. Whatever let him move on to the next person the fastest.

Then he sensed Frank stand and join him, both of them no longer using guns, but using knives. Matt did not see or hear the last person coming, not until he felt the burning pain in his side and when he focused realized there was a fucking knife impaled in him going between his ribs. Matt dropped to his knees and fell onto the cold, grimy floor, his breath rattling as he tried to focus on anything but the pain.

Frank looked over to see the commotion and his stomach dropped, there was no emotion on his face. Quickly he walked over to the man who stabbed Matt and picked up one of the many scattered stones on the floor. He approaches the man and unceremoniously smashes the rock onto the man’s skull.

The man goes down, and Frank continues the pounding, beating the stone in until their blood sprayed across his face and brains leaking onto the floor. He turns to look at Matt who is silent his breathing now showcasing a wet sound with each inhales. He stumbles over to Matt and leans down to pick him up bridal style. Matt hisses in pain as the knife is jostled, but otherwise stays silent, Frank walks out of the building and to his squad and lays down Matt beside him and Billy.

The E-Vac is there within ten minutes, and everyone rushes onboard as Schoonover and Murdock are carried. Frank and Billy sit beside Matt on the ride trying to stabilize him just enough so he does not go unconscious by the time they arrive. He looks over to Frank and smiles, “Thanks Castle.”

||

Everything was muffled, Matt couldn’t hear anything except for the minimal snippets of conversation. Billy’s hands were shaking as he tried to quell his anxiety and fear. Frank poured a bottle of water over his head, and he threw up blood for what had to be the hundredth time.

All of the conversations were indistinct nothing was focused, and that made Matt uneasy, he groaned as he sat up and propped himself up against the cot railing. Then he nearly screamed as every sound came flooding back into his brain.

For Frank everything was still muffled, then something seemed to pierce through it. Orange walked through the crowd not paying attention to any of the wounded, only asking a single question. “did you kill the target?”

Matt grey angry letting out a preemptive “What the fuck.” And everything at that went silent, even Frank now was focused on Orange. “I said, did you kill the target?” Frank started to shake, “What’d you say?” he growled menacingly. Frank stalked over to Orange, “What’d you say you piece of shit?” Frank reared back and punched Orange across the face, blood immediately blooming from the man’s eye.

Frank did not sound human his roars of accusation sounding like they were coming from a rabid wolf. It took three men to hoist him off of Orange and lead him into a separate room. Matt winced as he got up and followed them. He had just gotten to the entrance when Frank was thrown onto the floor with Billy trying to take control of the situation him shouting over everyone else.

The both of them were posturing like it was a battle for dominance, each of them showcasing a feral glint in their pupils. Billy was yelling at Frank trying to make him see reason, trying to use logic to help. Frank growled as he threw a chair against one of the walls. The echoing sound making Matt hiss as he was still getting acclimated to the various sounds.

Frank groaned and dropped to the ground as his bullet wound burned in pain. Billy took more steps forward seemingly cornering Frank. “Open your eyes man, this whole thing… this whole thing is bullshit!” You don’t like the way it smells? Get out!” Billy trails off, and Matt listens, “I am.” Frank looks up to Billy his panting stopping as he processes those two words.

Billy continued, “I can’t. We can’t… we can’t do this anymore!” Matt closed his eyes in guilt as he silently agreed with what Billy just said. “Look at yourself, me and Murdock agreed that we are getting out, we’re both getting honorably discharged in two weeks and if you know what’s good for you and your family, you should too.”

Tears shone in Billy’s eyes before he turned and walked away through the door once again, leaving Murdock alone with Frank.

Frank looked up to Matt who was trying his best to keep a stoic expression on his face, “I-I need to get out, Red.” Matt sighed and tilted his head up to the ceiling, “Yeah Castle, you do.”

Chapter Text

After the shit show that was the last mission, Matt knew he couldn’t take the pressure anymore. He had to get out of this hell, out of the war, and all he needed to do was convince Billy and Frank to come with him. Billy was easy enough to convince; Matt only needed to beckon him over to the cot he was confined to while being treated for the stab wound and suggest the idea for Billy to agree.

For the next twenty-four days, Matt was on edge around Frank, seemingly slinking around everywhere as if any sudden movement would break the metaphorical wall between them. Then five days until they were due to be shipped back, Frank approached him. Matt played the blind man act better than he ever had before when that happened. But Frank, as always, managed to call him on his bullshit and pulled him aside.

“Red, I’m requestin’ a discharge. I thought about it; what we’re doing here doesn’t seem legal or right at all.” Matt tilted his head, so he gave the illusion of looking at Frank’s face despite not seeing anything at all. “I’m done with this,” Frank continued. “I want to spend time with my wife and watch my kids grow up.”

Matt’s mouth twitched at the statement. “Well, I’m glad that you decided to get out while you still can.”

Orange and Schoonover seemed to let up on them for the remainder of their deployment, and Matt was smart enough to guess that it was because Castle had nearly punched out Orange’s eye. So, fortunately, it was pretty mellow for the last five days, at least until Billy and Castle fucked him over on the morning of their departure.

“So, Bill you got plans when we get back?” Frank asked.

Billy looked over from his cot and smirked. “Yeah, yeah I got plans.”

Frank chuckled. “Prince Charming, huh? Y’know man, you ever think of quality over quantity?”

Billy looked over with an over exaggerated ‘seriously?’ face.

“Why don’t you just pick a girl and settle down?” Frank continued to prod.

“Hey now, God made me like this for a reason-- I’m just sharing the wealth.”

Frank let out a soft laugh at that.

It was calming to listen to the casual banter back and forth between his friends, but what Matt wasn’t expecting was for Billy to drag him into the conversation.

“What about you Matt? You’ve got any family or friends you been dyin’ to see?” he asked.

Matt whipped his head over to Billy and opened his mouth, trying to come up with a believable lie on the spot.

Frank’s amusement vanished in the blink of an eye at Matt’s floundering, and he looked to the man who was still trying to form words. “Red, you got anybody… anyplace to go back too?”

Matt finally gave up on spitting out a lie that wasn’t coming, so sighed and shook his head. “I was an orphan after my dad got murdered, and I’ve got no friends to go back to either. But, I’ve got a couple of places…” Matt trailed off, but the thick silence made it obvious Frank didn’t buy that either, so he continued. “I’ve got options, Castle. I promise.” Matt couldn’t see it, but Frank’s eyes were soft as he looked over Matt’s impassive face.

Frank was going to say something, but he was interrupted by Schoonover entering the space and ordering them to get their asses into the Humvees so they could be on their way. And so, words were left unsaid.

||

When Matt was around fifteen years old, an elderly blind man approached him and told him that he knew things about the people who killed his father. He also said that he could teach him how to fight so he could stand an actual chance with stopping those men from doing anything like that again. Matt nearly laughed at the notion before he was knocked onto his back, the man’s cane pressed into his neck. He swallowed nervously and then thought about the pros and cons of this. It was most likely some sort of elaborate ruse in an attempt to do something to him. But, the anger and guilt overwhelmed any logic, so he choked out something along the lines of an agreement to the man’s offer.

Gone were his dreams of being a lawyer, that space now filled with a longing to beat the shit out of Roscoe Sweeney, who, he had just learned, was the one who orchestrated his father’s murder. Stick, the man who had approached him, taught him how to fight. Matt was skeptical at first when he was blindfolded and forced to confront the man. But as hard as he tried, he couldn’t lie to himself; it was terrific to be able to tell where people are coming from and what type of weapon was being used just by air currents their movement created.

He was starting to get worried looks at school though now that he came in sporting a new set of cuts and bruises each day, and his grades dropping certainly didn’t help to quell the growing concern of his teachers and peers alike. Matt should have known better than to let Stick fill the father-figure shaped void in his heart, but he was the first person who had even tried to help him in the last five odd years. Then after two years of training, Matt had accidentally called him ‘dad.’ Stick walked straight out the door that day, never to be seen again. It still stung that Matt never received an explanation as to what he’d done to drive the man to abandon him much like everyone else in his life.

Matt had no chance of ever getting into any university with the way his grades had tanked after Stick became a fixture in his life, and there was no fucking way he was staying in the stink that was New York any longer. So, he decided joining the Marines was the way to go. What he didn’t expect though was when he arrived at boot camp for most things there to be lessons Stick had already taught to him: endurance, discipline, hand-to-hand combat. So he excelled at it and completed basic training just to immediately get shipped out to Afghanistan.

But here he was now, being discharged and returning to Hell’s Kitchen with nowhere to go and nothing to do. His mind kept returning to his childhood dream of becoming a lawyer, so when he returned he sought out a man named Smith, someone Stick had introduced him to on the grounds of him being an expert at forging any and every document one could ever need. When Matt did finally find him, he asked Smith to cover up his old high school records and give him straight A’s, 1560 on his SAT, and a 34 on his ACT in place of his actual grades which could be described only as subpar. The man laughed at the odd request at first but stopped at the serious expression and the roll of cash in Matt’s hand.

Matt applied to every university he could, and he received an acceptance letter from every last one. In the end, he decided on Columbia University.

||

When Matt returned to Hell’s Kitchen, he thought they’d all go their separate ways, not keep in touch. Except, nearly a week later while in a meeting with an insurance worker who was explaining to him what the company would and would not cover with his new disability, he received an email. When he checked it, he was more than a little surprised to hear his laptop read out the name of the sender: Frank Castle.

It was an invitation from Castle to introduce him to his family, a family Matt had spent the majority of his deployment hearing about. Matt paused before he responded, not wanting to seem too eager. A few messages back and forth later, it was established that Matt was coming over for dinner this Saturday. Matt did not panic while choosing an outfit for the occasion.

When he arrived at Castle’s, it was said man who opened the door and seemingly pulled him into the house. Matt nearly melted at the symphony of smells coming from the kitchen, but he managed to keep himself together as Frank led him to the very place the scent was coming from.

He played the blind act well, acted as if he relied on Frank to lead him.

“Maria, this is Matt,” Frank introduced.

Maria flicked her hands to get water off of them and quickly dried them with a towel before striding over to Matt. “It’s nice to meet you, Matt.” Her voice was cheerful, full of happiness he had never heard before.

“Likewise, ma’am.” His throat felt dry, and his voice was kind of rough.

Maria chuckled, “No need for that; call me Maria. As soon as Frank invited you over, you became a part of this family.”

Matt smiled, grateful for his newly purchased glasses now as he felt a certain mistiness in his eyes at the statement.

“So, Matt what are you doing now that you’re back?” Maria asked.

“I retook my SAT and ACT and applied to a few universities. I was accepted into most of them, but I chose to go to Columbia.” He replied, and Maria beamed at him.

“That’s amazing!” Matt could practically feel the disbelief coming off of Frank at his statement.

“Frank, could you set the table please?” Maria requested in that same cheerful tone.

Frank nodded once and led Matt over while balancing various utensils in his other arm.

“Matt, I know why you didn’t become a lawyer, and it was because of your grades, there’s no way you could get into Columbia even with perfect scores with what your GPA was,” Frank whispered fiercely, and Matt frowned.

“I paid a guy to forge records for me, I had nowhere else to go, and with my disability, I can’t exactly work in any place a veteran would usually work,” Matt responded firmly, keeping his voice low so that Maria wouldn’t overhear.

Frank straightened up and continued to set up the plates and silverware. Matt cocked his head a bit and inhaled deeply as Maria brought a pan into the room.

“Lisa, Frank! Dinner’s on the table!” Maria shouted up the stairs, and Matt smiled slightly at the pounding footsteps as the kids nearly sprinted down the stairs. Matt listened as Frank chuckled when the two children almost crashed into each other because Lisa decided to slide in using momentum and wearing socks.

The food was amazing; Frank and his family weren’t awkward around him even with his disability; it made him appreciate them all the more. The atmosphere was so incredibly warm and welcoming, something incredibly foreign to him. He always had to work for the small amounts of acknowledgment and love he received. And now, he was receiving it for just being present.

||

Matt slid his cane back and forth across the tight hallways of dorm building B; he held out his hand so it grazed the left wall and he felt the room numbers. From down the hall, he heard an exclamation of, “God damn it! Come on! Load. Load!” Matt stuttered to a stop outside the door where the noise was coming from his hand passed over the plaque again and he sighed before he knocked on the door.

“What?” Matt opened the door and gripped the cane in his left hand, “Excuse me, is this room 312?” The man seemed focused on other things, “Yeah, who’re you looking for?” Matt heard as the man’s heart sped up as they realized their mistake, “Oh…uh sorry.” Matt held back a laugh as he played being oblivious, “What for?” “You’re blind, right?”

Matt laughed nervously at that and deflected with a joke, “Uh, yeah, so they tell me.” Matt paused as he felt around for the bed in the room, “I hope that won’t be a problem.” “Why would it? Oh!” the man pointed as he finally put the dots together, “You’re—You’re my roomie!”

“Uh, Matt Murdock.” He held out his hand and listened, and the man jumped off the bed to shake it,
“Foggy Nelson. So, you get your eyes knocked out or something Matt?”

Matt masked his discomfort at the question with a nervous chuckle, “No, I didn’t get them knocked out.”

“Good, ‘cause that’d be a little freaky. But no offense.”

“Please, none taken.”

“Most people dance around me like I’m made of glass. I hate that.” He really did.

Foggy shrugged and responded, “Yeah, you’re just a guy, right? A really, really, good-looking guy.” He continued as he glanced down.

Matt’s façade broke for a second and his mind went blank, “Oh, um…” he stuttered.

Foggy realized his mistake once again, “I mean, girls must love that, the whole…wounded, handsome duck thing.” Matt regained his thoughts,

“Am I right?” “Right, yeah… it’s been known to happen,” He says while he thought back to the times where it did not only work on girls.

“This is gonna be awesome!”

Matt was confused, “What is?”

“Me as your wingman! You’re gonna pick up a whole caliber of women I’ve only dreamed of. A lot! We’re gonna be like Maverick and Goose.”

Matt smiled weakly, “Okay.”

He heard what he assumed was Foggy’s laptop send a notification,

“Oh, shit!” Foggy walked over to check his computer, “Yes. I’m in!”

Matt couldn’t control his curiosity, “In what?” “Punjabi. I got the last spot.” Matt was surprised, “You’re taking Punjabi?”

Foggy’s heart sped up, “It’s spoken by over one hundred and thirty million people. I’d like to know what they’re saying.”

“That’s the only reason?” Matt asked with a cocky smirk on his face.

“Well, yeah. I mean, why else would I learn it?” Matt smiled, “I don’t know… a girl, maybe?”

Foggy reacted in the least expected way, “See? This is what I’m talking about. Me and you… Maverick and Goose, no secrets.”

Matt almost winced at that, no matter what he would have to keep secrets from Foggy. “Goose died… and he was married.”

Foggy shrugged, “details.”

“Hey, do you know a good place to get a cup of coffee on campus?”

Matt rolled his eyes, thankful for his glasses, of course, he didn’t he had just arrived.

“No.”

“Well, lucky for you, I do. And it’s filled with luscious coeds, shall we?” Matt not wanting to seem rude accepted, “Yeah, lead the way.”

||

After the first dinner that Frank invited him too, he was re-invited almost every weekend. Some of the time Billy would be there, and at those times the three ex-soldiers would convene in the living room after the meal and drink beer or in Matt’s case smoke the rare cigarette on the porch.

Soon it was commonplace for Matt to just be there every weekend even without an invitation. He really did feel like he was a part of their small family, but then everything changed when Frankie called him ‘Uncle Matt’ he felt like he would melt onto the floor.

After that Frankie only called him Uncle Matt and a short two weeks later, Lisa followed suit. He never sensed the jealousy that Billy felt at all of that.

||

Matt stumbled forward and laughed as Foggy walked ahead while he flailed his cane around. “Watch out, everybody! I’m blind Matt Murdock! Whoa!”

Matt sputtered, “Most—most people just say, Matt Murdock.”

Foggy glanced back and handed Matt his cane, “I look like most people?”

Matt smiled, “I don’t know, I can’t see you.”

“Well, at the moment, that may be a blessing.”

Matt felt disappointment in himself as he looked up and sighed, “Oh, God, we should be studying.”

Foggy snorted at the statement, “You’re gonna graduate Summa cum laude, you can take a night off, you nerd.”

He laughed at the last part as he tried to respond, “Yup you’d be—“ they both broke off into laughter. “You’d be graduating with that, too, if you took a few less nights off.”

Foggy turned around, so he faced Matt and walked backward, “Point being, we are both gonna be, fine, upstanding members of the legal profession. El grande—how do you say lawyers in Spanish?”

Matt focused as he thought for a split second about the question, “Lawyers? Abogados.”

“El Grande avocados!” Matt stammered and laughed again, “That’s not Spanish, that’s fruit. That’s fruit.” He gasped out through laughter.

“It’s a vegetable at best.”

“See, that’s what you get for taking Punjabi instead of Spanish with me, just to chase a girl.”

“What? No!” Foggy yelped out and stumbled forward.

“I’ll have you know that Punjabi is the future language of the future… of business. A couple of years, we’ll all be speaking it. And she was so hot. She was so hot!”

Matt laughed and clutched Foggy, “yeah say that in Punjabi.” He joked.

Foggy stammered for a couple of seconds, and Matt wheezed at the lack of an answer, “God! Shut up! Kiss my ass.”

“You can’t speak—” Foggy interrupted him, “No! No, no, no, no. Are you trying to tell me that you didn’t take Spanish to snuggle up with whats-her-name? The Greek girl.”

Matt’s amusement seemed to be siphon out of him at the statement, ‘Well, I… surely I would take Greek?”

“No! because she was taking Spanish. She already spoke Greek. Whatever happened to her? She was smoking.’” Matt sighed, “Oh man, didn’t work out.”

“When does it ever with you, buddy? How can I help you? What are you looking for my young padawan?” Matt snorted, “I don’t know.” He looked over to Foggy, “I guess someone I really like listening to.”

“Where are those stairs?” he asked himself and slid his cane rapidly across the pavement until it went off the edge. “I’d like to sit now.” He exhaled deeply as he sat on to the top step.

“Hey, do you get the spins?” Matt smiled and didn’t answer, “Can you get those if you can’t see?” Matt chuckled, “Yeah, I get the spins. Yeah, it’s… it’s an equilibrium thing; it’s not your eyes. The liquid in your inner ear gets disturbed, has trouble leveling off or something.”

Foggy sighed and laughed a little, “That sucks. I thought you might get a pass on that one.” Matt chortled, “No, I think it’s even worse for me I think. ‘Cause my senses are so…” Matt paused as he tried to form an explanation without giving himself away, but Foggy replied before he could. “So, what? Delicate?” Matt laughed once more, “Yeah you could say that.”

They sat in comfortable silence before Foggy broke it, “I swear Matt, We’re gonna have big, fancy offices one day, with steel, glass, and chairs you don’t even know how to sit in. Murdock and Nelson, attorneys at law!”

“Nelson and Murdock; sounds better.”

“You think?”

“Yeah, trust me. I can’t see worth shit, but my hearing is spectacular.”

“Me and you pal, we’re gonna do this. We’re gonna be the best damn avocados this city has ever seen.”

Both of them laughed, and Matt tilted his head up, “Best damn avocados.”

Chapter Text

Matt listened as Foggy retched over the table, “Oh, it tastes like fish eggs.” Matt laughed as Foggy coughed in disgust at the food in his mouth. “I think they are, Einstein.” Matt dropped his smile as one of the employees entered, “And it tops out at two-hundred dollars an ounce. You two really think you can crash this party?”

Matt regained his smile before responding, “Yes, we’re kind of ambitious.” “Are you gonna kick us out bro?” Foggy added on.

The employee raised his eyebrow, “Depends, are you pompous jackasses?”

“Well, we’re not… pompous” the employee laughed, “Help yourself.”

“Mmm, the taste kind of grows on you.” Said Foggy as he pulled a bowl of caviar aside and took out a spoon. “You wanna get down on this? Pull up a stool.”

Matt tilted his head curiously as he heard something unusual out in the main room, “Uh, you do that. I’m gonna find the alcohol.”

Foggy paused the spoonful of caviar he was about to consume hanging in the air, “Genius! And grab me a beer!”

Matt walked tentatively through the crowded room; the overlapping chatter nearly overpowering his heightened senses. Then he heard it, the faint clinking of metal and slowly he tried to pass through the crowd to reach it.

Then he felt someone blocking his way, “Excuse me, it’s time to go.” Matt stammered as he tried to respond, “No, I’m just looking for—”” You found it” the man interrupted. He looked once more to the person where the sound was coming from, “He’s with me.”

Matt ambled up to the side of the woman who had just saved him, “Hey, I’m gonna have a Macallan, neat, and the lady will have, uh… another vodka martini.” He stammered out before his voice grew in confidence.

“Very perceptive.” She spoke without looking at him, and Matt maintained his look of elation on his face as he tries to not pale at her words and what they might have meant. “Thank you, I try.”

“But, I can order my own drink.” She says to him before turning back to the bartender, “Tequila. Mezcal, if you have it.”

Matt sighed deeply, “So, thanks for your help. It’s hard to find reliable security these days.” His face almost screwed up at his own words, as he thought back to when he was still in that small cramped tent in the middle of nowhere.

He faked a chuckle so the woman before him would not think anything was off. “Nice shoes.” His cool act dropped at that “What?”

“Wingtips. Good call. Shine them yourself?” Matt laughed a little at that, “How’d you know?” The woman looked away with a sarcastic smile adorning her face. “You’re not exactly a tough read.”

Matt turned away in surprise, “I… could surprise you.” Elektra took hold of her drink, “Doubt it.” Matt smiled and nodded once while lifting his glass of scotch to his lips. “All right.” He took a sip, “You, uh, wanna give it a try?”

The woman’s lips twitched in thought before she turned to Matt, “Okay.” She paused. “You desperately want to belong somewhere… with someone, which is the real reason why you sneak into fancy faculty parties.” Matt lost his trail of thoughts at that statement, which hit a little too close to home, especially now.

She continued, “Not because you’re sick of your ramen and video games routine.” Matt chuckled the tiniest bit at the statement, “And now, your mind is racing. You’re wondering what you can possibly say or do to keep me on the line because the last thing you want is to spend the rest of the evening with that scotch and that shaggy-haired friend of yours. You know what your problem is? You’re pretty, you even work the blind thing. But you’re dumb. You lost before you even stepped to the plate.”

The woman turned back to her drink and took a sip, her posture saying that she was done talking to him. “You get all of that from a pair of old wingtips?” The woman smiled a bit, “Quick study.” Matt licked his lips and took one last sip of his drink, “You wanna know what I think?” The woman huffed, “Tell me.”

“I think that game’s just beginning.” The woman chuckled at the statement. “Because despite your artisan tequilas and charm-school manners…despite being richer than God and having the whole world at your fingertips… you’re just bored.” Her amusement halted at the statement, and she looked up to Matt. “Really?” Matt responded to the obviously rhetorical question. “Bored enough to study a stranger’s shoes.” Matt paused to take a breath. “See, I think you were dying on the vine of this tight-ass party because daddy’s money can’t buy you the one thing you really need.”

She blinked and faced Matt once more, “And what’s that?”

“The unexpected.”

She smiled almost wickedly, “Maybe you’re not so dumb.” Her eyes scanned Matt’s body, “Elektra Natchios.”

“Matt Murdock.” She reached over a downed the rest of his scotch, “Let’s go, Matthew.” Elektra led him through the room while Matt carried his cane above the ground for the first time in a while. No one spared a glance toward them as they exited the space and walked out the doors. Matt tilted his head as he heard the distinct sound of a car being unlocked.

“On your left.” She said while leaving him and opening the door to the driver’s side. Matt laughed as Elektra revved the engine, it was not loud sounding akin to a cat purring.

“Do you like it?” she asked. “Sounds expensive.” He replied. “You have good ears.”

He turned to face her, “Is it yours?” “It is.” She replied her heartbeat staying steady, “Until we get caught.” Matt’s eyebrows raised as the engine revved once more.

||

Matt nearly winced as Elektra bashed his cane through the glass window of Fogwell’s Gym door, reaching through the jagged hole and unlocking the door.

“I’m gonna have to pay for that.” He stated unhappily. “I’ll stake you.” She replied while handing his cane back to him.

“So, this is the famous Fogwell’s.”

“Yeah, breathe it in fast. If we get arrested for breaking and entering the fun kinda stops.” He paused for a few seconds before continuing. “

I haven’t been here in a while. I bet nothing’s moved.” He said as he reached out with his cane to tap the bag he knew was there, before reaching forward and punching it. He chuckled as the bag swung forward, playing the blind act of not knowing it was returning.

Elektra took hold of the bag before it was able to hit Matt fully, “Thanks.”

“So, tell me. How does a blind man box?” she asked. He stammered at the unusual question as he tried to lie. “Oh, uh… I don’t… I can’t. My dad, he was the boxer.”

He could feel the curiosity coming off of Elektra, “was?” Matt was nonchalant with his answer, “Yeah, he died.”

“I’m sorry.”

“I just come here to… breathe in the smell of sweat.” Elektra inhaled deeply. “Hear the clank of the chains holding the bags. Remember him.”

“You never saw your father fight.”
“Oh, I saw him get his ass beat more times than I can count. I wasn’t born blind. That’s a… whole other story.”

A story he did not want to tell, the negative memories of his time in Afghanistan rushing back to the forefront of his mind, where he did not want them.

Elektra let go of the bag and walked towards the ring, her eyes watching him the entire time, taking in the now stoic expression on his face.

“Did he die in the ring.” She asked while hopping up onto the platform.

Matt snapped out of his stupor at the question and approached her position slowly, making the mistake of not using his cane. “Uh… no, boxing didn’t kill him.”

“What did?”

“Organized crime.”

“Like a mob hit? Was he a criminal?”

Matt chuckled darkly, “No. But I guess you could say he rubbed some people the wrong way.”

Elektra nodded once before ducking under the ropes on the edge of the ring. “Someone in particular?”

“Uh, yeah. A guy named Roscoe Sweeney. I don’t know if he pulled the trigger, but he gave the order.”

“Did you ever try to find that piece of shit?”

“Yeah, once when I was a kid. Got nothing learned to live with it.” Matt replied while pulling himself up onto the ledge and leaning against the ropes. “He probably went underground.”

Elektra came towards him and leaned against the ropes on the opposite side, “Well six feet, I hope.”

The conversation was reminding him of the people he had lost when he was blinded, his entire squad except him, the sole survivor.

“You don’t have to feel sorry for me.”

“I don’t.”

The statement was refreshing, too many people felt sorry for him, whether it was because of his father’s death or being blind.

“Are you sure?” he asked with false confidence.

“Yes.” And he smiled.

“I’ve seen it. Here and there, over the past few weeks.” She walked up to him and rubbed her cheek against his. “You’re so much more than you let on.” Matt felt panic at that statement realizing if he were not careful he would give himself away.

He lifted the top two ropes and ducked under them, so he now stood in the ring, immediately he felt the change in the air current and ducked under the kick Elektra aimed at his head.

“I knew it.”

Matt decided to play dumb, “You knew what?” Then Elektra tried to kick him once more and out of instinct he dodged.

“You said you were blind.”

“No, you said I was blind.”

“So, you can see?”

“It’s complicated.”

Elektra ran forward and thrust her forearm out towards his face before trying to punch upwards toward his chin.

Matt caught her fist and turned her around, so she was held against his chest.

“What about you? You said you took ballet lessons.”

“I did. In the winters, when my capoeira master returned to Angola.”

She twisted out of his grip and aimed and kick towards his head, he ducked, and she kept up the rally of punches while Matt kept dodging. The fighting style had changed as soon as she had escaped which had caught him by surprise at first. When he felt an opening, he swung his palm out and hit her in the hip.

Matt chuckled, “Muay Thai?”

“Every other Thursday.”
Matt laughed as he turned away from her, and Elektra followed. Then the punches were back, and he was using his forearms to try a block them. Then one of them broke through and hit him in the chin, and he tasted the metallic taste of blood in his mouth.

He chuckled, “You got me.”

He did not expect the second punch in the side of his face, and he blinked in surprise as he backed away and into the ropes. The hit reminded him of when he and Frank fought for the first time.

“Come on, Matthew,” Elektra goaded. “Your turn to get me back. What are you waiting f--”

Elektra was cut off by a hard kick from Matt that caught her right in the ribs and caused her to stumble back a few feet.

After that first hit, Elektra found herself playing defense to an imposing series of blows that would’ve knocked any less experienced fighter down for the count. Matt landed one more hit, but unfortunately for him, Elektra was fast enough to dodge his right hook and neatly take him down to the mat with a sweep. The split-second hesitation that came along with getting his breath knocked out of him was just long enough for Elektra to press her shin down against his throat and use her hands to pin his wrists to the ground. Matt struggled another second before the pressure crushing his windpipe was enough to make him tap out.

Elektra had a wicked grin on her face as she got back to her feet and extended a hand to help Matt up which he graciously took. He rubbed at his throat with one hand, and when he spoke again, his voice was just a little bit scratchy.

“ Jiu-Jitsu?” he asked.

“On weekends.”

That got her a soft hint of a laugh from Matt. “Yeah? Would’ve been nice to know that before I got in a fight with you.”

“That wasn’t a fight, Matthew,” she responded in a sweet tone.

“Yeah? What was it then?”

“You getting your ass kicked,” Elektra answered like it was the most obvious thing in the world.

That comment got her an actual laugh and brought a grin to match her own onto Matt’s face. “Let’s see how round two goes before you get too full of yourself.”

And with that, Matt turned Elektra’s move right back on her and swept her feet out from under her, landing with one leg folded up either side of her hips and one hand restraining both her wrists over her head.

“Not fair,” Elektra said once she’d given up on trying to writhe her way out from under Matt. She was slightly breathless and not just because she’d hit the mat hard. “I wasn’t ready.”

Matt just smiled down at her, though the look was a bit more predatory than it had been just moments before. “Was I mistaken in assuming you’re the type of girl who likes to fight dirty?” he asked, leaning down and grazing his lips over the smooth skin of her neck so that the low rumble of his voice made a shiver roll down her body.

“Let go of my hands and I’ll show you,” she replied smoothly.

“Now where’s the fun in that?” Matt teased.

Elektra narrowed her eyes before pushing her hips up hard enough to unbalance Matt to the point he let go of her wrists in order to plant his hands on the mat. That was all the opening Elektra needed to pin one of Matt’s arms to his chest and work one leg out from beneath him to get the leverage to roll them into the exact inverse of the position they’d just been in.

“I don’t need to fight dirty to win,” she purred, licking a line from Matt’s collarbone up to his throat and biting down hard enough to draw a pinprick of blood once she got there.

The gasp that the action drew from Matt just served as motivation for her to do it again, this time sucking away the blood that had welled up at the fresh bite before pulling back to the point that her lips just barely skimmed over the painful, raw wound.

“If anything, sweetheart, it seems like you’re the one who gets the most out of playing dirty,” she said, the words trickling from between her lips alongside the rivulet of blood that stuck to her skin.

“Elektra,” he breathed out, his voice barely a whisper as he struggled to move his hands. He wanted to-- needed to touch her.

Elektra just gave a disapproving click of her tongue and tightened her hold on his wrists before biting down just below the sharp line of his jaw. She felt her heart stutter at the genuine whine that siphoned from Matt’s lungs and the way he pushed his hips up against her, his erection painfully obvious to both of them.

“All that?” she taunted. “Just from a little biting? Matthew, I’m shocked~.”

Matt gave a somewhat strangled laugh at that though he didn’t school his body into behaving any less desperately. “I could hear the way your heart sped up when you tasted the blood. I could taste it in the air how much it turned you on.”

Elektra didn’t deny it; only hummed appreciatively and sat back on Matt’s hips, leaning against his bent knees like the back of a chair. “What can I say?” she said, pushing her hands up beneath the hem of Matt’s shirt and rucking it midway up his chest. “Red’s a good color on you.”

She dug her nails in on either side of the hard v of his hips, grinning at the way Matt impulsively thrust up against her in response to the sharp pain. She scratched up along his sides, her nails leaving harsh red welts in their wake. A moment later she pulled her hands out from under his shirt only to hook her fingers under the neckline and rip his shirt down the middle.

“I liked that shirt,” Matt protested softly though there was a wide smile on his face as he tilted his head to follow Elektra’s movements despite his eyes not tracking.

“Not as much as you’re going to like this,” she murmured, dipping her fingers below the waistband of his pants as she leaned back in, this time letting her tongue and teeth explore the sculpted planes of Matt’s chest.

She particularly enjoyed the way Matt whimpered when she bit down again, hard enough to leave marks but not to draw blood, this time on his nipple.

“Elektra,” he gasped, her name coming out like a prayer; like it was the only thing he could even think to say.

“You’re the one who wanted me to fight dirty, darling. Now sit back,” she pushed Matt’s shoulders down so that they were completely flat on the mat once again, “and enjoy the ride.”

It became apparent that her choice of words were more than just a common phrase slipping off the tongue once she got her own pants off with quick, efficient motions before taking her time working Matt’s pants down over his hips inch by inch until they were far enough down that a quick tug on the elastic of his underwear was enough to reveal his dick. She wrapped one hand loosely around it and used slow motions to coax him the rest of the way to being fully hard.

He somehow sensed the way she was eyeing him and raised an eyebrow. “If you’re wondering how far down the biting kink goes, just know that it stops before there,” he said in a tone that left Elektra helpless to ward off the laugh it brought forward from her.

“Noted,” she said before merely curving one finger around the seam of her panties and pulling them to the side just enough that she was able to lower herself down onto Matt’s cock.

She gasped softly, but it was nothing in comparison to the near wounded sound that came from Matt as he arched off the mat and into her, his hips stuttering in small, half-aborted thrusts into her. She placed both her hands on Matt’s hips and held them to the ground as she began slowly rolling hers.

Matt continued with the truly desperate noises as Elektra worked them into a rhythm that began as barely-there movements and developed into her all but bouncing on his cock. At first, she allowed him to muffle his sounds into her mouth and against her lips, but it was criminal to keep him quiet for more than a minute or two. She could tell every time he came close to climax from the way his hips would stutter, and his muscles would tense, and every time she’d immediately transition to grinding her hips onto him in a way solely designed to pleasure herself.

While she was grinding down on Matt, she watched as he tilted his head back so his back was slightly arched and his neck was exposed. In a split-second decision, she reached forward with her right hand and grasped his neck and squeezed tightly, so his breathing turned ragged. She nearly blushed at the whine that came out of Matt at the action.

She continued to grind down onto him letting out soft gasps at the sharp bursts of pleasure that crashed over her every couple of movements. Her thumb was placed over Matt’s Adam’s apple, and her other four fingers squeezed his trachea tightly until he was about to pass out before she let go to give him a few breaths of oxygen.

Eventually, though, she couldn’t bring herself to continue her movements as she chased her own orgasm, switching back to riding his cock as he bucked up into her thrusts. Finally, she finished with a loud cry as every muscle in her body drew as taught as a bowstring. This final tensing was all it took for Matt to climax as well. Elektra tightened her hold around his neck so he could not breathe at all and his eyes rolled back into his head as his entire body shuddered.

When Elektra had finished riding the last waves of her high, she leaned forward and grazed their lips once more. Matt leaned in and made it into a kiss, he closed his eyes as she reciprocated the affection.

||

Matt leaned back in his seat as the rock music reverberated throughout the car, he lurched forward as Elektra pressed on the brakes to stop and pulled out the keys. They both opened their respective doors at the same time, and Elektra tossed the keys to Matt who caught them in his hand.

“Any time you want to drive…” she said with humor laced in her voice.

Matt snorted at the prospect of that, “I think it’s illegal, driving under the influence of blindness.”

Elektra turned around with a teasing smile on her face. “You’re the future lawyer.”

Matt frowned a bit at that, “I should probably start going to class then.”

The negative feelings were soon replaced with curiosity, “Where are we?”

“A house belongs to one of my father’s work associates.”

He walked towards her a swept her up bridal style and towards the entrance, “So, you have the keys, right?” Elektra sucked her teeth and looked towards Matt with an obviously fake apologetic smile adorning her face.

Elektra kicked her heel through the glass nonchalantly, and Matt unlocked the door through the hole in the glass. He entered the house and set down Elektra and followed her to the kitchen, which was much too large to be functional.

He smiled to himself as he passed the counter and hopped onto it, so he now sat on it with his legs crossed before leaning back, so he laid on his back. Elektra opened the fridge in front of him, “Okay so we have truffles, saucissons, cornichons.” Matt gagged at that he always pickles as a kid and he still does now.

Elektra pulled some cheese out of the fridge, he listened as she unwrapped that paper that kept it from getting stale and pulled a knife from the display beside him. She set the food on his chest and cut a piece off with the knife she had taken.

“When you graduate… and we get married.” He chuckled a bit at that. “This is how we’ll live.” She said as she used the point of the knife to take a piece of the cheese and feed it to him.

“And, what about the kids?” he asked with no expectation of a serious answer. “Oh, you know, little Ellie and her simpleton brother Matty junior.” He released a short laugh at that. “Can cook, clean, and stock the fridge… while we spend our time doing better things.” She said the last part while tracing his pants line.
She dipped down to graze her lips against his and Matt tilted his head up so he could meet her, but she pulled up just before they met. “Who’s thirsty?” he groaned and sat there in disappointment before he sat up and slid off the counter.

He listened as she pulled out a couple glasses and from what he smelled the most expensive scotch in the room. He smiled and grabbed an opened bottle of rosé from under the counter. Elektra smiled wantonly as he pulled the cork from the bottle causing it to mist and fizz over onto his hand.

He lifted the champagne glass Elektra had set out and poured about halfway before handing off the glass to her, which she traded for the glass with scotch which she had already poured. Elektra downed hers in one go while Matt took a tentative sip from his, she then threw her glass nonchalantly onto the tile floor where it shattered.

She backed away with a coy smile on her face. “sounded expensive.” He said, “I’m guessing.” She replied while taking another glass from the shelf beside her and tossed it onto the floor next to the previous one.

She took another glass and dropped that one onto the floor as well, “Get me?” Matt swallowed the last of his liquor before leaning back against the counter. “I do, I get you.” Elektra sighed in false disappointment, “When are you going to learn? Get me.”

Quickly Matt moved up to her and grabbed ahold of her waist while holding his own glass, he trailed his knuckles down her jawline. “You know me like no one ever has.” In the split-second before he said that he had decided to omit Frank and Billy from his sentence not wanting to risk it. To punctuate his statement, he threw his own glass onto the floor into the pile of glass shards from Elektra’s previous ones.

Elektra cupped the back of his neck and pulled him forward into a kiss, he was interrupted when he heard the sound of a car door closing outside, and he pulled away from her lips.

“Someone’s here.” He said softly. Elektra tried to pull him back into the kiss, but he held her back. “There are footsteps. Moving fast, let me go check.” He continued quickly, but she spun him around, so his hips hit the edge of the counter. “No, no, no. You stay here, I’ll go explain everything, he won’t be mad. I promise.”

He stood there alone for thirty seconds before he heard a man groan and a faint thud, he rushed out of the room quickly only to find Elektra standing over a man her heel digging into his throat. “Matthew, you remember Roscoe Sweeney, the son of a bitch who killed your father?”

Matt’s blood went cold at the statement, and he stood frozen. Elektra took her heel off of Sweeney’s throat and hoisted him up, grabbing a chair from the corner of the room and pulling out some rope she always kept on hand.

Matt stood there as she made Sweeney sit in the chair and wrapped the rope around him while she tied intricate knots to keep him from moving.

When she finished the two of them stood there for ten minutes before Sweeney jolted awake and looked around disoriented before his eyes settled on the two of them. “Oh, Jesus Christ.” He groaned in pain before continuing, “When I get out of this… Oh, I’ll remember your faces.” He said menacingly.

Elektra chuckled while she circled him with a knife in her hand and a taunting smile plastered on her face. “Aw, when you get out?” At this point, Matt interrupted her little tirade, “Where did you find him?”

“Monte Carlo, I wasn’t lying. He’s been going by an alias for years now, Al Marino.” She spat in Sweeney’s face. “Oh, when I get out you’re dead. The both of ya’.” Elektra playfully snapped and pointed at him, “Hey, watch your tongue… while it’s still attached.” She whispered loudly before acknowledging Matt.

“He tried to hide, went underground. But the scum always rises, Al, just couldn’t stay anonymous. He had to spend his blood money.” Sweeney scowled, “Eat shit.” And Elektra slapped him with the side of the steak knife she was holding. “Want me to hit you again?” she paused, “Well I won’t, but he will,” she said while gesturing towards Matt.

Sweeney looked over to Matt, and his scathing glare scanned him, and he laughed humorlessly. “I don’t know him from Christ, but one look and I can tell. Pretty boy ain’t got it in him.”

Any pity he might have had for him vanished with that one sentence, “You don’t remember me?” with the silence he continued, “You killed my father.”

“Well, that doesn’t fuckin’ help me because I’ve killed a lot of guys’ dads.” Matt took off his glasses, “Then let me help jog your memory, he hit hard, like this.” He growled out and punched Sweeney so hard he heard the crack of bone beneath the skin.

He continued his flurry of punches, each one cracking the bone a little more and drawing blood. Elektra laughed softly as she goaded him on before she made the mistake of addressing him by his real name while Roscoe was awake.

“Matthew. You’re Battlin’ Jack’s boy! Now that I know your name nothin’ll stop me from running the streets red with your blood. Just like I did to your old man!” the rage inside Matt spilled over, and he grabbed Roscoe by his scalp and punched him all across his face until it was black and blue.

Elektra walked towards him “End it. End it now.” She said while holding the knife out to him. Matt took it wordlessly and stalked towards Roscoe who was struggling against his restraints trying to get away.

Slowly, Matt lay the knife against Roscoe’s neck and dragged it slowly across listening apathetically as he choked on his own blood.

Matt dropped the knife and heard it clatter to the ground, and he walked towards Elektra who tried to reach out and pull him in for a kiss, but he faced away from her. “I’m never doing that again, I-I don’t know why I did that.” He said his voice breaking. “I’m so fucking tired of killing.” In his own disbelief, he did not register the shock that Elektra expressed at the last statement.

She tried to approach him, but he just backed away from her until his back hit the wall. His eyes welled with tears as he sunk to the floor trying to control his breathing. Elektra stood there while he calmed himself and when he stood, she was elated until she saw his expression.

“You need to leave Elektra, please don’t approach me again.” He said with no room for argument, any emotions he had before were either muted or gone now. Elektra looked at him with disbelief painted across her face, “I thought you understood me.” She said with the tiniest bit of sadness laced in her words.

Matt turned away from her and then she was gone, and out of the door, he did not hear her start the car, nor did he her run.

Chapter Text

Matt writhed in his bed as he tried to block out the sounds of the city, the screams, and gunshots, and crying. The most disturbing though was the crying of a young girl as she begged her father to stop. He listened in for weeks, he called Child Services, but the mom did not believe it. And the dad, he was smart, he tortured her without leaving a single mark. He listened, and he realized that the law could not help the girl, but he could.

Matt scouted the father’s routine for a week, memorized his schedule. He bought a black hoodie and used some old black jeans he had and used a piece of a ripped t-shirt to blindfold himself. Then he followed the father one night and waited until he was alone, walking the train tracks while sipping on a beer even though he was already intoxicated. He ran quietly on top of the freight cars as he followed the man.

Matt grunted as he hopped down behind him and landed with a loud thud which caused the man to turn around. He yelled as he launched at the man who in turn smashed his half-full bottle of liquor into his side which caused him to grunt in pain as the glass shards cut his skin. His pause in the movement was all it took for the father to shove him against one of the cars and slam him multiple times to try and knock him out.

Matt brought his arm up and bashed the man’s elbow, smashing his head against the other’s. He then took him by the shoulder and slammed him against the freight car where he fell to the ground almost immediately. He attempted to rise, but Matt hooked him in the jaw, so he fell again, looking at him with fear and confusion. Matt punched him again and again until his knuckles were dripping with blood.

“You touch your daughter again, and I will know,” Matt growled animalistically.

Matt punched him three more times before the man lost consciousness and his head lolled to the side. He stood and flexed his hands feeling the splitting of the skin across his knuckles. Slowly, he raised his right hand and touched his split lip and hissed at the sharp sting of pain. Matt faced the man again and glared from behind the blindfold; he left him bleeding on the tracks.

After that Matt did not hesitate to put on his blindfold and all black outfit whenever he heard a gunshot or someone’s scream, he beat the shit out of people who deserved it, but he never killed, and he would never do so again.

||

Matt leaned against the railing that surrounded the carousel as he stood next to Frank who was following Lisa with his eyes.

“They’re gonna be too old for this,” Maria said, and Frank chuckled at the statement.

“Ah stop that.”

“They’re growing up so fast,” she said, and Matt could smell the bitter tinge of sadness come off of Frank at that.

“Yeah,” he replied solemnly.

Matt hit Frank lightly on the shoulder to direct his attention towards Billy and Frank Jr. who had tried to get their attention before.

“Yo! Yo! Come get it while it’s hot!” he yelled across the plaza towards the three of them.

“Look at those two, two peas in a pod.”

“Yeah,” he said again while sliding on sunglasses so that they all matched except for Matt who wore the red-lensed ones that he always did. He left Frank and Maria and walked towards Billy, and he smiled to himself as he listened in on Billy and Junior’s conversation.

“I’m just saying, little Frank, I think it shows a lack of imagination.” Billy glanced to see Matt next to him and Frank coming from behind.

“I mean, your dad is a good guy and all. I just think he could’ve named you differently.”

Billy flashed a shit-eating grin at Frank while Junior confronted him, “You hear Uncle Billy?”

“It’s impossible not to hear your Uncle Billy, bud. He talks very loud and very often. Unlike Uncle Matt who obviously knows how to keep his mouth shut,” he said while sitting down at one of the picnic tables along the edge of the plaza.

Billy brushed off the joke and continued, “See, now, I was named after the most famous outlaw that ever lived.”

Maria looked up from unfolding napkins, “Jesse James?”

Billy chuckled mockingly, “No. Billy the Kid. And Billy the Kid was the fastest gun in the west. He was an orphan just like me from New York. Then he went out West, and he survived on nothing but his wits and bravery, and nobody could catch him, ‘cause he was too smart and too badass.

Matt snorted and laughed into his arm while Frank chuckled, “Then what happened?” asked Junior.

“Pissed off the wrong people. They killed him for it,” Frank interrupted.

“Don’t listen. Your father has no sense for the romantic. Just ask your mother.” Matt who had been sipping his drink gasped and started choking. Lisa apathetically pounded her fist against Matt’s back while Frank laughed at the insult and Maria threw a fry at him.

“What? He was betrayed by his friend for money and fame.” Frank looked over to Matt who stared glaringly at his food, Elektra may have not left him for money or fame, but she still betrayed him.

He snapped out of it when Lisa started talking sensing the cheekiness coming off of her, “Uncle Bill…” Billy hummed in acknowledgment.

“If you were an orphan, how do you know you were named after Billy, the Kid?” Billy’s jaw dropped slightly, and he looked at Lisa with an expression of mixed awe and apathy on his face, and the rest of the Castle family laughed.

“Lisa… you are way too smart to your dad’s kid. I do not know the answer to that.” Billy responded with a twinge of sadness at the last part.

“Aw. You both have all the family you need right here.” Maria leaned forward and hugged the both of them, and Matt smiled at the warm fuzzy feeling he felt in him at the fact that he had an actual family.

He lost focus of the conversation when he heard the hammer of a gun being cocked from a group of people about thirty feet away.

Time passed in slow motion as he screamed out, “Get down!” he launched himself across the table and slammed Billy into the concrete.

Matt listened, wincing as bullets flew by overhead and he whimpered softly as he hears them slicing through flesh and the pained and frightened screams of people in the park.

Then, he heard it the high-pitched scream of Lisa as she was hit and Matt lost it right then and there. He shut down; his raw emotions took over as he vaulted over the table and he growled as he crashed into Lisa so that she was guarded by his body. Matt yelped as he felt burning hot pain slice through his thigh and shoulder before he hit the ground and rolled with her in his arms.

He quickly located the gunshot wound ignoring the repercussions that could come with the Castles finding out about his powers, it didn’t matter, not to him. There was blood gushing out of Lisa the hole had gone into her chest and through her lung. He could hear her breath rattling with each inhale, and Matt gritted his teeth as he applied pressure trying to slow the bleeding and keep her from inhaling any blood.

His own wounds were throbbed in pain, and he felt blood nearly pouring out of one, but he ignored it as he listened to Lisa trying to make sure she wasn’t deteriorating. He started to panic as he heard Lisa begin to choke, her own blood stopping her from being able to breathe. It almost seemed to happen too fast, she was spitting up blood, and her breath was rattling, and he listened shocked as her heart slowed and then it gave out, no longer beating.

Matt laid her down on the ground and sobbed, not giving a fuck if the shooters heard him or if he died at that fucking moment. He curled in on himself before he turned his attention to Frank who was the only one here whose heart was still beating.

“Frank,” he gasped out as he crawled forward to where Frank was laying on his side. He yelped as his right hand landed in a pool of blood and he slipped forward, and his chin slammed against the concrete.

Matt felt himself fading from consciousness, his thoughts becoming fuzzy and the pain caused by his wounds almost phantom-like. Matt crawled forward his head throbbed as he arrived at where Frank laid, he leaned forward to try and grab Frank’s arm. He succeeded, but he felt warm thick liquid streaming down from somewhere on Frank’s body.

He tried to grab his phone which was in his pocket but kept slipping each time, the blood on his hands making them slick; his movements started to become more frantic. Then he grabbed ahold of it firmly and tossed it out in front of him.

“Call nine-one-one.” He called out weakly and listened as the phone connected, and someone greeted him.

“Nine-one-one, what’s your emergency?” the man asked.

“Th-there’s been a shooting, I’ve…I’ve been hit I don’t know how many are dead, please send help,” he responded shakily, his head dropped to the ground as he finally gave out, everything too blurry and confusing for him to be able to stay awake.

||

Matt opened his eyes blearily his heart dropping as he realized that what had just happened was not a dream; the cloying and sterile scent that always came with a hospital was overwhelming. Matt couldn’t sense anything, it was too overwhelming, reminded him too much of last time, fuck, he couldn’t breathe. He couldn’t be in a hospital again. He struggled in the bed trying to kick off the sheets; he did not register the pain as he tore the IV out of his arm. Distantly, he heard a long steady beep, and he paid no attention to it.

Then he was surrounded just like he was in Afghanistan, just like when he let his entire team get killed. He stood up to fight, but a searing pain in his leg brought him to ground, he listened as the people approached and he snarled ferally as they got close.

Then he felt a sharp pinch in the back of his neck, and his thrashing slowed as he grew weak and Matt realized belatedly that they had drugged him. He reached forward to try and grip one of the people’s ankles and send them tumbling, but they all stepped away quickly from his slow movement. His arm dropped onto the tile floor as he lost consciousness once again.

||

Everything came crashing back like a tidal wave as the haziness of drugs slowly lifted off of his mind, and he wished that it had stayed. He remembered the way that Lisa’s blood was still warm when she drew in her last breath as he tried to keep her from bleeding out. He remembered the taste of blood, gunpowder, and greasy carnival food in the air. How when the shooting finally stopped the only people alive were Frank, Billy, and himself.

Matt’s head dropped down as he let out inaudible sobs and tears rolled down his face and dropped onto the rough cotton sheets. He didn’t care that people might see him because god fucking damn it he could get a pass on crying right now. His emotions were still off the rails when one of the nurses walked in, and silently handed him a tissue.

“Just remembered everything, huh sweetheart?” she asked in a sickly-sweet voice.

“Don’t fucking call me that.” He responded his tears slowing and sobs turning into small hiccups.

His use of profanity didn’t do much for intimidation, and he looked like a sad and angry puppy to the nurse. But, she did pity him being blind and going through that situation without knowing what was going on must have been terrifying.

“Where’s Frank?” Matt asked coldly, and the nurse had to think for a second before remembering the man who was brought in with a bullet in his skull and stuck in a coma.

“He’s in the ICU, sweetie.” She replied gently.

“I told you. Don’t. Fucking. Call. Me. That.” He snarled with all of the anger and hatred he could manage. The nurse took a step back at the tone he had used before regaining herself.

“Very well, Mr. Murdock. You were involved in a shooting earlier in the day. You were shot your thigh and shoulder. We are going to release you in the morning if nothing catches us by surprise.”

Matt calmed himself down and frowned before he nodded his head in acknowledgment.

||

In the morning, several nurses crowded around him as they unhooked all of the machines connected to him, while the doctor at the foot of his bed explained what he needed to do to clean his wounds. He was handed the discharge papers which were thankfully printed in braille. Matt signed them and was given a single crutch and his guide cane so he would be able to walk.

Matt leaned to one side as the throbbing pain in his leg intensified, and he limped through the hallways until he walked through the doors, and the smell of New York slammed into his senses, and he almost gagged. He heaved for a few seconds before he walked toward the curb edge and waved his hand to try and signal a taxi. When he climbed in, he leaned forward and told the driver to take him back to his dorm before he laid back against his seat closed his eyes.

He listened to the various sounds of Hell’s Kitchen as they passed through the crowded streets, when they arrived he thanked the driver and handed him a wad of cash that was more than enough to cover the cost of the ride. He grabbed his crutch and limped towards his building, his cane grazing across the concrete as he attempted to find his way.

When he found his dorm building, he silently thanked God for the elevators that were inside the building. He counted the buttons until he reached the third one. When the doors opened on the third floor, he supposed it was just his luck that Foggy was in the room when he entered.

Foggy shot up from his seated position at the desk he was sitting at, “Matt!” he rushed forward and hugged him, and Matt let out a quiet hiss as Foggy pressed against the wound in his shoulder. Foggy released him at the sound and looked him over, his eyes zeroing in on the crutch that Matt was leaning on.

“What happened to you?” he asked with a worried tone.

Matt kind of faltered, trying to come up with an excuse. “I was jumped yesterday and shot in my leg and shoulder, and I was overnight in the hospital.” Matt could tell by Foggy’s heartbeat that he believed him, and inside he felt a tiny twinge of guilt at the fact that he lied to one of his best friends.

Foggy the amazing friend he is helped Matt over to his bed so that he could sit, and he fell back against the rough sheets. While Foggy went back to his desk to study pretending to be nonchalant, but the worried feeling never left him as he kept looking behind him to check on Matt.

||

Matt knew that he would have too much work due from taking off two days to be able to rest (cry) over what had happened to him. But, he did not expect to for him to be so behind it took him four days to catch up on all of it, so he could finally visit Frank in the hospital.

When he walked in he was given the usual spiel of how only immediate family was allowed in the ICU, but luckily, he had decided to wear his dog tags today. So, when one of the nurses noticed them hanging from his neck, she quickly ushered him back with her, and to the room, Frank was being kept in.

The smell of death hung over the wing like the exhaust on a car, everything and everyone here was either dying or depressed, every breath in tasted bitter and rotten. When he came to what was apparently Frank’s room he almost couldn’t believe it, his heartbeat had never been that weak or slow, but under all of the scents of the wing he could tell the person on the bed in front of him was Frank.

When the nurse left he made a show of using his cane to find the chair which was placed at the foot of the bed, he sat there and thought and stared blankly in the general direction of where Frank lay. He was there for only fifteen minutes before he felt another presence approaching the room he was in.

A male nurse entered followed by two people, the one in front clearly in charge just by the aloof energy that was coming off of her. He heard the rustling of papers being handed off, and he was slightly confused by that before the nurse turned to him.

“Mr. Murdock, may I speak to you outside please?” Matt nodded before getting up to follow him the few feet.

“I apologize, but the people who just came in are from the DA’s office and have turned in legitimate D.N.R paperwork.” Matt inhaled sharply at that his mind racing through ways that he could stop the order, but with him not having finished law school there was no possible way he could fight it.

As if God was taunting him, the machine that was monitoring his heart started to rapidly beep, and the nurse shoved Matt out of the way as he hurried over to Frank’s side to try and stop whatever was happening. Matt stood stock still as he listened, then the beeping changed into one long continuous tone. Matt stopped breathing as he listened to Frank trying his damnest to find a heartbeat.

When he couldn’t find one he let tears fall from his eyes, he had no one left. Sure, Foggy was always there, but no one who was with him through hell and back like Frank and Billy had been.

Then miraculously, he heard it. A quiet heartbeat and then Frank gasped as his eyes shot open and he groaned. The two other people in the room sounded like they nearly had a stroke.

Matt rushed forward to Frank’s bedside, and he heard Frank try to say his name but just a weird croaking sound came out of his throat. Matt just laughed softly with the tears he had just shed had now become happy ones.

||

When Frank was told what had happened to Maria and the kids he flew into a rage, so much so that he had to be strapped down until he promised that he would not do so again.

That had been a week ago, and since then Matt had been able to visit him exactly once, in which he stayed for three hours. He liked to think it was a pleasant visit, but it was mostly them sitting silently as they thought about everything they could have done better to save them.

Now, today, was the first time since then where he had all of his work finished and was able to come up with an excuse to tell Foggy about his absence.

However, when he arrived the first thing he sensed was overwhelming panic. He tried to push through it and head to Frank’s room, but when he arrived no one was there. He grabbed the attention of one of the staff and asked them where Frank was.

Matt’s blood turned to ice at the response, “Gone.”

Chapter Text

It had been years since Frank left and he felt incredibly alone, he loved his best friend, but it really fucking hurt sometimes when he wakes up at night in a cold sweat and not able to fucking breath, and there is no one he can talk to about it.

But, he can’t show weakness anymore, he’s graduated Columbia, summa cum laude thank you very much. And, now Foggy and him are going to start their own practice, he doesn’t need anyone’s help.

||

Matt crouched down on top of one of the several shipping containers that stood on the docks, and he listened to the girls scream for help. He was right across from the container that the Russians threw the women into; he heard their hearts pick up and a scream as they saw him looking down at them.

He leaped down from the container onto the man who was teasing the women, he went down immediately, and he tilted his head when he heard a pipe roll across the wet concrete towards him. Then everything seemed to move in slow motion as two other men ran towards him yelling in Russian.

He brought down the first one quickly by pushing him down onto the ground, but the other one put up a larger fight, and they exchanged a rally of hits as Matt aimed for the joints. He sensed an opening and twisted around to the man’s back and held him in a chokehold then flipped him over onto his back, so he was knocked out.

Then a third man came out of nowhere and took his shoulder before kneeing Matt multiple times in the ribs and Matt grunted as he heard one of them crack under the pressure. He then proceeded to bring down the man who slugged Matt in the jaw as they both went down. As a last resort, Matt bent the man’s knee backward and quirked his lips a bit and the satisfying crunch.

Matt turned his head as he heard the distinct shift of metal on metal that signified a gun being loaded. He rolled out of the way as two bullets were shot in quick succession and grabbed the metal pipe as a last-minute choice and bolted down the narrow opening between containers. He hauled himself up onto one and ran across it to try and disorient the person pursuing him.

When a shot rang out, and he knew that was his time to be able to jump down so his sound could be covered up by the ricochet bullet. Matt came up behind the man and threw his pipe hitting him in the back of the head, knocking him out cold.

||

Foggy and him get their first job after a mere seven hours of renting the new office, he knows as soon as Karen starts talking to them that she did not kill the man. So, he decided that he would help her, with or without Foggy’s help.

So, when she was almost killed in her cell that night, he was understandably livid with the police force. Practically forcing them to release her, and that was when he realized that there was more to her story that she had kept hidden from him. And, when she snuck out of his apartment that night, she was lucky that he followed her and was able to save her from the assassin that was waiting for her at the murder scene.

||

Matt was crouched on top of his roof as he listened with a feral look on his face while a boy was kidnapped. He knew it was a trap for him, but there was no way that he would be able to ignore the boy’s cries of fear and pain. And he doesn’t hesitate in going after him, but that proves to be a mistake when he is met by several knives.

He doesn’t register anything as he is thrown into a dumpster with two stab wounds in his side and several cuts and bruises. He’s thankfully pulled out by a nurse named Claire who patches him up and lets him rest on her couch without asking too many questions.

He didn’t want to rope her in too the dangerous game that he was playing, but then he had no say when one of the Russians came knocking at her door asking about him. It was a good disguise and would have been believable if they had not spoken Russian while they were retreating down to the lobby.

Matt was able to knock him unconscious by dropping a fire extinguisher directly onto his head, and with help from Claire, he was able to heave him up to the roof. He was able to get the location of the kidnapped boy out of the man, but his transgressions were still even too much for Matt to handle. Matt felt no remorse when he kicked the man off of it and sending him into a coma.

||

Matt stood just out of view from the man who gave the boy behind the door at the end of the hallway food. When there was no one left in the hallway, he walked forward feeling along the wall so he would know where the door separating the men from him was.

When he found it he tensed and waited then kicked open the door with a yell, he used the surprise to his advantage and punched and kicked harder than usual. When someone came up behind him, he used all of his strength to throw him off of him and into the door which snapped off its hinges with the force of it.

He listened as the other room opened and one person came to investigate the noise, and as a last-second action he threw the microwave at the man successfully taking him out. More men came out of the other room, thankfully after he had already beaten everyone in the last room unconscious.

Most of the new men carried guns, and he tried not to wince as shots were fired. He beat them to the ground, but these men were much more resilient than that others as they got back up after a few seconds. Matt gasped and fell as one of the men hit him in his freshly patched wound, but managed to stand before they could all gather on top of him.

After fighting and the men getting up repeatedly he finally beat them by throwing the last one onto the floor, surely giving him a concussion in the process. But he did not care.

Matt heaved against the wall for about thirty seconds before he approached the door that kept the child inside the rank room. He opened it and made his voice gravelly to make sure the kid did not recognize him.

“I’m here to help you, okay?”

the boy whimpered before nodding his head.

Matt reached down and picked him up so that he didn’t have to walk; it was so obvious there was no chance he would be able to anyway. His anger lowered to a simmer as he felt a tiny bit of satisfaction at the work he had done.

||

He walked into their small office with a black eye and a bullshitted response on the tip of his tongue which of course he did use when asked about his bruise. He was startled out of his deflection though when someone knocked on their door. The three of them were confused, so much so they didn’t even know what to do until Karen was prompted by Matt to get the door.

Their new client is on the defensive, not answering even the most simple of questions. Matt doesn’t trust him one bit, but he does know that he could use this to his advantage. He manages to convince Foggy to take the case, if only for the money that they would get from doing so.

As soon as Matt meets the person they are supposed to defend; he knows that he’s guilty, there is no way that someone who is not a lawyer would know codes like he did. Also, even If he seemed to calm his heartbeat gave him away with the slight uptick in speed when he was questioned.

They managed to win the case but only by using every loophole they could manage without seeming like those lawyers who only cared for the money, who didn’t care about anyone’s wellbeing.

That night he confronts the man while in the suit, and he gets a name, “Wilson Fisk.” What he doesn’t expect is for the man to be so desperate, so afraid that he impales himself through the eye, so he didn’t have to face the consequences.
||

Matt is filled with fury when he hears Claire whimper in fear, and it echoes across the underground lot where the Russians were hiding. He kept to the shadows as he followed the sound of buzzing to the electrical box. He felt for the handle and shoved it down and heard the lights go out and the room become pitch black.

He listened as one of the Russians approached his location to check the breaker, he quickly wrapped his arms around the man’s neck in a chokehold so he couldn’t make a sound. When he let the man drop to the ground with a quiet thud, Claire started laughing maniacally.

“You’re so screwed now.” She exclaims.

He stayed in the dark so he couldn’t be seen as he unwrapped a cable from ceiling and shot it out towards one of the men and wrapped it around his neck then slamming him into the ground. Then all of the men started to fire at once in the direction of his attack, and he smirked because he had already moved by the time they had begun to shoot.

Matt picked them off one by one as they each made the mistake of moving towards the edges of the room, unable to pinpoint his location before he moved on.

But then they grew smart, and Matt had to think of a way to bring one of the two remaining men down. He grabbed a crowbar which was on the ground next to him and threw it at one of them hitting him square in the head and knocking him unconscious.

The last man, in desperation, grabbed Claire and brought the gun to her head.

“Let her go,” Matt growled.

“I’m walking out of here.”

“No, you aren’t.”

“I’m walking out of here; I’ll blow her brains out!” Claire screamed as the man tightened his grip and dug the barrel harder into her temple.

Matt felt fear run up his spine at the statement, “Put the gun down… or I promise you’ll never hold anything in that hand again.”

The man exclaimed something in Russian and Matt did not give a shit, he lunged forward and grabbed the arm which was holding the gun. He kicked the back of the man’s knees, so he fell to the ground. Matt did not show any mercy, he twisted the man’s arm until he heard it crack in four different places.
“It hurts, doesn’t it? Being in pain, being afraid.” The man was groaning loudly but then Claire came out of nowhere, and he felt the force of a baseball bat against the man’s skull. There was no way he could have survived that.

||

Elena Cardenas was the sweetest person he had ever met, she was so incredibly kind it was impossible for him to not immediately take her case. There was no reason for her to be subjected to the cruelty that she was going through. So, when he finds out that it is the sleazebag Tully who is causing this, he knows it will be difficult, but he will find a way to bring the man down.

Matt walked into the police department and through the narrow busy hallways on his way to the desk. He greeted Brett and was surprised, but elated by the gratitude the man showed at his attempts to take down Tully.

As Matt waited for Brett to get the documents from the records room, he tuned into an interrogation as he recognized the voice as one of the Russians he had knocked unconscious while saving Claire. Matt tilted his head in interest as the Russian stopped the detectives from leaving, promising to give them a name.

The handcuffs jangled as one of the detectives unlocked them.

“Whose turn is it?”

“Yours.”

“I thought I took it for that thing in the bodega?”

“Oh, shit, yeah.”

Matt cocked his head in confusion, and he felt a horrible chill forming in his stomach.

He heard a punch, “Watch out! Jeez, he’s going for my gun!”

A gun cock, “you really shouldn’t have said his name.”

Matt rushed to stand, but before he was even out of the room and in the hallway the gun had fired, and he froze as he stood there clutching his cane as officers rushed past.

||

 

Matt listened as one of Gao’s goons entered the Russian’s warehouse and took his opportunity, he kneed the man in the back and threw him over his shoulder and on to the ground. He listened half-heartedly to the inside of the warehouse as he focused on his fight. He quirked his head as he heard an exclamation in Russian. He froze and swung the man he was fighting around in front of him just as the building burst into flames. The door flew out and slammed into his opponents back launching the both of them onto the concrete.

||

Matt had sprinted at least three blocks with Vladimir on his back, he listened to what’s around him, and in a last-second move he turned to the right and entered an abandoned building just as a cop car raced past.

He brought Vladimir inside and laid him on the floor, panicking the smallest bit as he sensed the Russian losing blood by the second. He called Claire, feeling guilty at the fact that he needed her help to save the man that tried to kill her. It did not make him proud to know that he took pleasure in hearing the man’s screams as he cauterized his wound with one of the road flares he found.

Vladimir groaned as he came back into consciousness.

“What did you do to me?” he choked out.

“Road Flare. Cauterized the wound.”

“You…burned me?”

“Yeah, I had to stop the bleeding.”

Matt grabbed the man by the back of his shirt and hauled him across the room, so he leaned against the wall. Vladimir screamed in pain which quieted to muffled groans as he glared at Matt.

“Bullet’s still inside you. Wouldn’t move around, if I were you.”

“You expect me to say thank you?”

“If I didn’t need you alive, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”

Matt’s fingers twitched at that, for the first time in years he felt like he would make an exception to his no killing rule. It was so tempting, especially if it meant he could get rid of the Russians for good.

“So, you just stand there and let me die, huh? But you couldn’t kill me yourself. Is that where you draw the line?”
“No, it’s taking everything in me to keep from doing that. So, tell me what you know about Fisk.”

“You think you’re better than me… than him? Just because you hold back?”

“Fisk just took out your entire operation, he doesn’t own all the cops, but he owns enough that you will never make it to a prison cell.”

“His lapdog came to us first… he told us his employer had taken note. He complimented… us on our business. Invited us to part of something bigger… to expand… if we entered into an agreement.”

“What did Fisk offer?”

“Police looking other way… aid from politicians… and access to Chinese and their heroin.”

Matt was dumbfounded, he didn’t think Fisk’s empire had this many connections and was this expansive.

“He’s working for the Chinese?”

“You really don’t know anything, do you? Just snapping at scraps falling from table.” Matt was done with the evasive bullshit Vladimir was spouting.

“I want names. Everything you know about them and how they connect to Fisk.”

“There’s only one name that matters. The man that can tie it all together.”

“Who?”

“Have you heard of the name… Leslie Shumway?”

Vladimir went on detailing vaguely what the accountant did, and Matt couldn’t help a small surge of happiness when he heard that this man controlled all of the money from every one of the major players in Fisk’s network. Then Vladimir started to trip over his words, repeating the same sentence before he revealed who controlled the money.

Then Vladimir crashed his head against Matt’s and swung a huge piece of wood into his temple, he went down and groaned at the new pain.

“This is not how I die. This is not how it happens.” Vladimir ground out while standing over Matt.

He went in to swing again, but Matt stood up and blocked the swing which snapped the piece of wood in half. He brought his forearm to the Russian’s throat and used his full body weight to smash him to the floor. Which unsurprisingly came out from under them, then they only stopped when they hit the concrete floor two stories below them.
Matt groaned as he raised himself off of the floor slowly, he could tell that three of his ribs were cracked by the way they ground when he breathed. He could also sense that he had a mild concussion from the fall.

“That wasn’t very smart.” He ground out.

“But it was fun… watching you bleed.”

“You think this is a game?”

“If it was… you’d be losing.”

Matt groaned as he clutched his side where his ribs were cracked, he wasn’t paying attention to Vladimir which was a mistake. When he turned his attention back to him, he couldn’t hear a heartbeat, Matt forgot all about his pain and rushed over. He pressed down repeatedly where the man’s heart is and started to perform something along the lines of CPR, not wanting to give him air.

“I’m not done with you yet. You hear me?”

He pounded Vladimir’s chest three times before he woke up, coughing and taking in deep breaths of air.

“What…”

“You died. I brought you back.”

“You lied, huh? You can’t even stand there and let me die.”

“No. Not until you give me what I need on Fisk.”

Matt paced around the room, trying to find some way for the two of them to be able to escape. Everything was muffled, but he heard the sound of a subway train distantly, and he moved boards around to be able to find where it was coming from. He managed to move enough that he found a manhole that led to the sewers, he tried to pry it up from the years of rust and grime it was now stuck too.

Then he heard a radio crackle.
“I’d like to speak to the man in the mask, please.” Growled out a low voice from the pager.

Matt walked over to the pager, debating with himself whether or not he should answer. He thought that he could gain something in this, so he picked it up and held it to his mouth.

“Who is this?”

“I think you know. You’ve been asking about me. I thought it was time we spoke.

“Say your name.”

“You first… that’s what I thought.” Matt stopped at that, realizing that this was a game of cat and mouse.

“You and I have a lot in common.”

“We’re nothing alike.”

“That’s what you tell yourself.”

“You’re feeding off this city… like cancer.”

“I want to save this city, like you… only on a scale that matters.”

“Now tell that to the people you’ve hurt.”

“Young man… life is not a fairy tale. Not everyone deserves… a happy ending.

“I’m gonna find you… and I’m gonna make you pay for what you’ve done.

“No, you’re not. Not that I don’t admire what you’re trying to do… to change the world… with nothing but desire and your own two hands… secure in the knowledge that you’re doing the right thing, the only thing. That’s something that I do understand. But we both can’t have what we want. So… your part… in this drama, by necessity, comes to an end.”

“It’s gonna take a lot more than a voice on the radio to stop me.”

“It’s not me you need to worry about. It’s the city you just blew the hell out of.”

Matt laughed in disbelief and anger, he did not give Fisk the benefit of an answer.

“You wear a mask, and you are holed up with a known criminal. The city will burn you, and your name, your very existence… will be met with abhorrence and disgust.”

Then a gunshot rings out, and he stands up disbelief and fear curling in his gut, he hears the screams and clamoring of all the spectators. Fisk bids him a goodbye and a statement that they would never speak again.

Matt doesn’t waste time on Fisk and goes back to trying to get the sewage grate up, he was struggling with not having the strength to do so. Then Vladimir places himself across from him with his hands gripping the grate as well.

“I told you… this is not how I die.”

When they eventually were able to lift he helped Vladimir down the rusted ladder onto the wet floor below. He heaved the man over his shoulder as they stumbled through the tunnels until the Russian eventually leaned against the wall and slid down to stare at Matt.

“I think maybe, I stay.”

“You turn evidence on Fisk… we can-“

“He controls… all police… judges. There’s only one way to stop him, you know this.”

Matt stayed silent, he couldn’t say that he wasn’t a killer because he’s killed so many people in his life, some legally…one of them illegally.

“The moment you put on that mask, you got into cage with animals. Animals don’t stop fighting. Not until one of them is dead.”

Vladimir groaned as he sat up and used the wall as a stabilizer so he could stand.

“What Fisk did to me… he’ll do to you. And he will do it… to everyone, you care about. Will you feel the same way then?”

No, absolutely not he wouldn’t. He would probably do the same thing that Castle did and leave the area, not come back. Probably kill himself in the process like Frank probably did.

“The dermo who controls the money, his name is… Leland Owlsley. He will give you what you think you want.”

Matt looked once more to the Russian and fled through the side door that he found, listened as he began to sing in Russian and then as his heart stopped when he was shot four times.

||

 

Matt stalks into the warehouse his anger a smoldering fire, he could sense that there was a table with papers scattered across it. He laid his hand on one of them feeling the raised lines of the paper caused by the ink. Then he heard it, a slow but steady heartbeat and he whipped around to where a man dropped down from the rafters.

They circled around each other like animals do in a fight waiting for their opponent to make the first move.

“You slowed your heart rate… lowered your body temperature.”

The opponent did not acknowledge his statement.

“You are a warrior… and deserve a warrior’s death.”

They engaged in a melee fight, Matt brought in every move he knew and could think of but could only manage to land a few hits on his opponent. When it was clear that their fight was progressing in no way, Matt heard the man unsheathe some sort of weapon. He listened to the rattling of a chain and the sound of a blade swinging through the air.

Then he swung the weapon towards Matt, and he panicked, he couldn’t sense where it was going to hit. He felt a sharp burning pain as it sliced across his chest, and again along his ribcage. It was painful, really fucking painful, but he had been through the exact same thing tenfold while in Afghanistan.

Then he was hit five more times, and he could feel the pain now, he could feel the fuzziness in his mind as blood poured out of him. But, in a last bit of strength, he was able to kick out and launch the man into a stack of gasoline tanks. The smell made him even more disoriented, and there was no way he could focus on his opponent.

Matt supposed it was luck when the man went to swing again to finish him off that he hit the light above him. The sparks from the contact set the volatile liquid aflame with his opponent still standing in it. His opponent didn’t make a sound as he was burned alive in front of him, and Matt didn’t either, he just laid on the ground trying his damnest not to bleed out.

“Thank you. Nobu was becoming an issue.” A gravelly voice said behind him, and Matt turned confused why Fisk was here.

“You wanted me to come here.”

“In a perfect world, you would have taken each other out, but… it isn’t a perfect world, is it? Not yet. To be honest… it took longer than I expected. Nobu didn’t mind, he meditated for hours. I find it hard to meditate, my mind won’t quiet, it’s a character flaw I suppose.” Fisk paused and looked over to Matt.

“You, for instance, you’ve demonstrated an emotional weakness for children and women. I assumed that it would extend to the elderly. So, I baited the hook. Here you are.”

“You took her life… just to get my attention?”

“I took no pleasure in her passing.”

“I’m… gonna kill you.” Matt growled out, saying it with a conviction he hadn’t showcased since Roscoe Sweeney.

“Then take your shot.”
||

When Matt makes it back he stumbles into his bathroom and slams open his medicine cabinet, he attempts to grab his First Aid Kit, but it slips from his hands because of the blood covering them.

Matt knows that if he hadn’t been through shit in Afghanistan and gotten shot multiple times, he would have already been unconscious from the blood loss and pain of his wounds. So, he manages to open to the kit and shakily thread the needle and not scream as closed the wounds on his chest and sides. He’s going to have to call Claire later for help for the wounds on his back, but for now, he’s going to put on a shirt and sleep through the night while calling in sick tomorrow.

Matt slides up the wall, the pressure on his back slightly aggravating the wounds, but he manages to stand up so he can limp over to his couch. When he crashes onto it, he doesn’t expect to hear persistent knocking only a few seconds after he gets comfortable.

“Matt!”

Matt froze when he heard that it was Foggy on the other side of the door, he knew that there was absolutely nothing he could do to stop Foggy from finding out about his alter-ego now. He heard the key slide into the lock and tensed as the door swings open.

“Matt wh-“

Foggy stopped talking and Matt could feel the disbelief that came off of him and then the unbridled fury.

“What the fuck Matt?!”

Matt flinched at the tone Foggy used and cowered, the statement reminded him too much of his time in the Marines, it was too loud, too forceful. He could feel tears gather in his eyes, but he blinked them away before he turned owards Foggy.

“Oh, God.”

Foggy snarled at him.

“Are you even really blind?”

“Yes, Foggy, I am. I just have heightened senses; it makes it seem like the world’s on fire.”

“So, you can see?”

“That’s not—You’re not—are you even listening to what I’m saying?” Matt stammered out.

“Yeah, world on fire, I got it. But you can see, right?”

“Yeah, in a manner of speaking-“

“No! No, manner!” Foggy sneered, and Matt tried his hardest not to flinch again at the tone of his voice.

“All these years I actually felt sorry for you.” Matt’s blood ran cold at the statement, and all feelings of guilt seemed to be dried up.

“Foggy. Get. Out. Now.”

“No, Matt. You’ve lied to me for years, and now you want me to leave?”

“Yes,” Matt stated and left no room for argument, he didn’t want or need Foggy here not when Matt knew that he felt sorry for him.

Foggy was about to grab his jacket and leave his apartment when his phone started to chant,

“Karen. Karen. Karen.”

Matt slowly tries to reach for his phone but feels it snatched out from under him by Foggy.

“Foggy, foggy, foggy, wait.”

“Does she know? She deserves too.”

“No, she doesn’t.”

“Is this what you do? When we call, trying to get you to come out for drinks? Trying to find you when bombs are going off and we’re worried? You just hit ignore?”

“I thought I told you to get out, give me my phone and I don’t give a shit what you tell Karen.”

Matt heard Foggy’s heart rate pick up in a slight panic, Matt knew that he never acted like this; it was a first for Foggy, and he didn’t know how to deal with it.

“Fine, Matt.”

||

Hoffman was able to give up everything he knew about Fisk, all of his contacts, all of the people that he had bought out. Matt was celebrating with Foggy and Karen as they listened to live coverage as the FBI took in Fisk and all of his contacts.

Then it seemed like his heart stopped when he heard the tone of the reporter turn panicked as Fisk started to take control of his own arrest. That’s when Matt knew that he would have to go after the man to be able to bring him in. He was the only one who could.

Matt fled from the office with the excuse of going back to his apartment, when he was really taking a cab to Melvin’s. He would need his new suit to be able to take down Fisk.

||

Mat crouched on the edge of the rooftop on a building that overlooked the street where Fisk’s getaway truck was driving. He held his baton over the edge and timed it so when he let go of it, it dropped directly into the windshield. He listened as the driver slammed on the brakes and the truck skidded across the asphalt before it leaned and rolled over on its side.

Fisk opened the back gate and stumbled out of the truck before falling to his knees. Matt scaled down the building before jumping down, so he landed crouched on top of the truck.

“You were right… that night on the radio, not everyone deserves a happy ending.”

Then bullets were being shot at him, and Matt vaulted off of the truck before hiding behind it so he wouldn’t get shot. He launched one of his batons at the truck which ricocheted against the metal and hit the shooter in the head.

Matt looked over to where Fisk had been standing and noticed that he was no longer there and now at least a block away from what Matt could hear. He sprinted after him and listened with a smirk on his face as Fisk struggled futilely to escape down an alleyway he knew was a dead-end.

When Matt skidded in, Fisk turned to him and sneered.

“I wanted to make this city… something better than it is. Something beautiful. You took that away from me! You took everything! I’m gonna kill you!”
“Take your shot.”

Fisk screamed as he charged forward and Matt boosted himself up into the air using Fisk and flipped over him using his momentum to flip Fisk as well. Matt leaned over the man and punched several times in the face before Fisk took hold of his arms and used them to pull himself up.

He shoved the man into a wall where he then hit him again and again before Fisk turned to him and started to fight back. He took hold of Matt’s shoulders and slammed him into the adjacent wall before throwing him at least ten feet away over to the entrance of the alley. Fisk rushed over and threw Matt up against the wall this time, and when he landed on the solid ground, he immediately had to push himself up to stand.

This caught Fisk by surprise as Matt neared him and managed to land a rally of punches to his face before jumping up and landing a kick so that he flew backward and landed in a pile of wood. He sensed him shake his head to reorient then he heard the sound of metal and concrete and felt a pipe slammed into his head.

He was hit over and over until Matt decided to take out his own batons and he was able to block them. It was a sword fight now until Matt was able to wrench the pipe out of Fisk’s hands and throw it away.

Fisk took the moment of distraction to be able to hit Matt in the jaw a handful of times before he felt himself be picked up and the slammed full-force onto the ground. Matt grunted as Fisk kicked him once in the face and took Matt’s batons and started to swing the weapon against Matt’s front and sides.

“This city doesn’t deserve a better tomorrow. It deserves to drown… in its filth! It deserves people like my father! People like you!

Fisk seemed to punctuate every other word with a swing of the batons. Matt grunted before he managed to grab ahold of the rods and twist Fisk’s arm around so he couldn’t move.

“This is my city… my family.” Matt ended his statement with a powerful uppercut to the man’s jaw before he stood up and began to swing his batons just like Fisk had been doing mere seconds before to him. He managed to bring Fisk down to his knees, and this time he did not try to stand.

“You really think that this will… change anything? You think one man in… a silly little costume… will make a difference?”

Matt threw his batons to the ground and yelled as he sprinted towards the man and hit him square in the head once more, finally knocking him unconscious. Matt drew a knife that he had in one of his holsters and stalked towards Fisk.
But, before he could get there, a cop car skidded into the alley. Matt was planning on killing the cop as well until he realized that it was Brett. He couldn’t kill possibly the one good cop in the city. Brett approached him cautiously, holding his gun with his finger lying lightly on the trigger.

“Show me your hands! Do it! Show me your hands! Now!”

“I told you before Sergeant… I’m not the bad guy.”

“Holy shit, it’s you.”

“This man was a fugitive from the law, and I stopped him. We good?”

Brett did not answer him just reached over to his shoulder and talked into it.

“Wilson Fisk under K, north alley four-six and ten.” He said while slowly lowering his gun, but keeping an eye on the vigilante. He kneeled down and roughly pulled Fisk’s arms behind him before he cuffed his hands tightly.

“Thank you, Sergeant,” Matt said before quietly climbing up the fire escape, so he crouched on the rooftop.

“Hey, so what am I supposed to call you when I file my report?” Brett said below him before he turned around and his heartbeat spiked at the absence of Matt.

He looked around wildly before he saw him crouched on the ledge above him, Matt for the first time in years saluted Mahoney as a sign of respect and gratitude. He could feel his confusion and amazement as Matt did it.

Chapter Text

Matt was glad that Fisk was behind bars, but there was no ‘king,’ and it seemed that a void had opened up where Fisk once stood. Every criminal with anything to their name tried to become the new kingpin, and only a couple had almost succeeded. But, what he was not expecting was to find that the hideout for the Irish mob to be blown to all hell during what had to be the hottest weather he had ever experienced. Something in his gut twisted like he had a sense of familiarity with the way that this damage had been done, but he waved it away, there was no way.

Matt knew that he had to find whoever or whatever did this, so when he crouched on a rooftop and heard Turk try to sell guns to a couple of people he took his chance. Apparently, whatever was wreaking havoc here was just one person.

So, Matt found himself going after the man, which happened not the way he wanted to, as he was shooting at Grotto with Karen right beside him. Before he could take the shot, he kicked the rifle away and tried to kick the man’s head. For some reason, the heartbeat and the way that the man fought him seemed vaguely familiar.

Matt managed to kick the man to the ground several times, but he kept standing back up and coming after Matt. Finally, he managed to land a hit on Matt which toppled him and Matt groaned as he tried to get up the man fled the scene.

Matt ran after him from the higher vantage point and leaped off of it, so he slammed into his adversary. The traded hits until Matt managed to throw the man to the ground, then he pulled out a gun, and crazed and bloody grin decorating his face as he aimed it for Matt’s head.

“Bang.”

Matt froze, he recognized that voice, and then suddenly a massive force hit him in the head, and he was falling off the rooftop and onto another below it.

||

When Foggy found him passed out on the rooftop still laid where he fell, his head was throbbing where the bullet ricocheted off of his helmet. Foggy somehow dragged him back to his apartment, and by then Matt was fully awake, and he could feel the disdain and little worry coming off of Foggy. Foggy left within the hour that Matt woke up only stating that Matt should not go into work that day.

After at least an hour of him lying on the couch in pain, he was able to stand and slowly walk over to his sink, where he filled a glass of water and pawed for his pain relievers. When he opened the bottle and poured the pills onto the counter, it was too loud, making a thudding noise as each one hit the wood.

Matt reached for his water glass but instead only managed to knock it off the counter, but before it hit the ground, everything went quiet. He couldn’t hear anything, not even his own breathing. Matt fell to the ground and slid against the wall until he was sat on the floor, Matt yelped as his hand rested in the shards of glass next to him.

Matt yelled for help, he couldn’t hear himself. He screamed and still nothing. Matt was panicked as tears welled in his eyes, there was no point if he couldn’t hear. No one came for him no matter how many times he screamed.

||

Matt knew that he would have to have to pursue Frank, and the opportunity was handed to him when Reyes set up the sting operation for Grotto. He felt terrible that he left Karen and Foggy alone to handle that particular shit show, but he did what he had too.

Matt was crouched on the bottom ledge of the water tower as he listened to Frank’s heartbeat above him. Matt threw a smoke bomb up to the top and used the diversion to be able to swing up to the top behind him.

“Shit,” Frank grunted as he looked down and turned to see Matt.

Matt shoved Frank off and launched after him to avoid the spray of bullets that were shot in their direction. Frank landed in a roll and Matt followed after him, there was water raining down on them from where the soldiers had shot holes in the water tower.
Frank hit first, but Matt managed to block it and pick up a crowbar that was strewn on the ground. He surprises Frank with a series of swings with his newly acquired weapon, but he feels Frank grab the end of the crowbar and twist to try and dislocate his arm. Matt turned with the move, flipping in the air to avoid his arm from having been dislocated but not managing to keep the crowbar in his hands.

When he landed from his flip, Matt was surprised when Frank kicked him in the stomach, and he fell backward onto the ground. Then as he tries to get up he feels the crowbar hit him in the same place the bullet did and he falls back, everything a bit fuzzier. He supposed it was his saving grace that the soldiers had decided to start shooting to kill, as Frank had to dodge the rain of projectiles which gave Matt time to get up.

They traded attacks, and Matt could tell by Frank’s heartbeat that he was surprised by the style and endurance that he possessed. Then he heard the familiar sound of a bullet hitting flesh and Frank grunted in pain and clutched his bicep. Matt paused for a moment in worry and Frank used that opportunity to grab Matt by the collar of his suit and slam him into the glass roof beside them, which caused the two of them to fall through and hit the concrete below. They slowly got up, and Matt groaned a bit as he spat out quite a bit of blood, Frank started pacing, and Matt followed his lead until they were circling each other like rabid animals.

Matt stumbled and stopped as his ears started to ring, and he growled as he tried to stay upright. The ringing got louder, and now he could not hear a thing, Frank walked towards him then and brought him into a chokehold. Matt struggled, trying to push Frank’s arm away, but it didn’t take long for him to stop and then for him not to feel anything at all.

||

Matt woke up to an ache in his neck and not being able to move, he struggled a bit before realizing that there were chains wrapped around him. It sent him back to when he woke up blind, not being able to move.

He couldn’t breathe again, his eyes watered as he tried to gasp and get out of his bindings, heaving and straining helplessly. He could smell the alcohol and sterility of the environment again, the scent of sickness and death that was always to be hidden from the rest of the patients. He shook his head back and forth, trying to discern where he was, he couldn’t be back in the hospital, not again. Then he heard it, a deep and steady heartbeat and he focused on that as he calmed himself down enough so that he could breathe steadily.

“Morning, sunshine.”

Matt huffed slightly at the name, as he remembered vaguely that it was what Frank called him when he first woke up in the hospital. Matt strained against the chains a bit more, grunting from the exertion before he snarled in defeat.

“You can bash against the chains all night. The only way you get out of here, only way you walk free, is if I want you to. Know that.”

“Why didn’t you take my mask off?” Matt asked with a hint of curiosity, being conscious that he made his voice deeper so Frank wouldn’t recognize him immediately.

“Don’t give a shit about who you are,” Frank answered simply.

“You killed everyone else. Why am I still alive?”

Frank threaded a needle and snapped the string with his teeth, and grunted as he pushed the needle through the bullet wound in his arm. He managed to close the wound after a few stitches. Matt waited for an answer but realized he wouldn’t get one when he walked away towards a stack of boxes set on the edge of the roof. He listened as they were opened, and from the echo, he recognized the familiar shape of the tools he used in the Marines.
“You know, no one else has to die. You could stop now. Walk away.” Matt said just a bit panicked as he realized what Frank was planning.

“Walk away? Could you do that? Could you walk away?” Frank asked condescendingly, and Matt stayed silent as he realized how hypocritical that was.

“You left New York to enlist I’m guessing, couldn’t stand it here one day more? Had to go see the world?” Frank whipped around at that in surprise before he regained his nonchalant mask.

“You ever been to war, Red?” Matt froze at the nickname, it had brought back memories, Frank had to have recognized him if he used that. He was too surprised to be able to answer Frank’s question, he was silent, not able to form words.

“That’s what I thought, so don’t talk about it,” Frank stated.

“Well, I almost had you beat.”

“You talk about trading hands on a rooftop, Red. I’m talking about shit, okay? Shit that you ain’t been in.”

It took Matt everything he had not to reveal himself and say that he had been, that he had gone to war and fought for this fucking country.

“I know one thing. War changes people. Sometimes they see things they can’t unsee. Come home to find that home’s not there anymore, and it won’t be ever. That it changed or maybe they did.”

“Fair enough.”

“Why am I here?”

“Everything you do out in the streets, Red, it doesn’t work. Did you know that? Everyone you ever put away is back on the streets in a fucking month just to do the things they did again. Me? I don’t let them have that chance.”

“I got fucking tired of killing people, okay? I had enough that’s why I fucking decided to stop and let people have a god damn chance.”

“Well that doesn’t matter anymore, you’re a half-measure, a coward. You know the one thing that you just can’t see? You know you’re one bad day away from being me.”

Matt opened his mouth to respond but twitched his head when he heard keys jangling below them.

“Someone’s coming.”

“Shit. Guess I’d better make a run for it.” Frank paused for a few seconds as he listened to someone stomp up the stairs leading to the roof.

I’ll say this once, Red. You make one sound, and I’ll open his head up all over the roof.”

Matt stayed silent as Frank lied through his teeth to the elderly gentlemen, and he took the chance to struggle against the chains once more. He stops immediately when he hears the gun click as the bullet is fed into the chamber, and he froze in fear that Frank would actually have killed him.

Then the feeling was back of not being able to breathe, but this time, he couldn’t focus on anything. Frank wouldn’t do this, not the one he knew… he would never kill an innocent man just to prove a point.

Matt was surprised when there was a sudden hand on his shoulder, and he jolted out of his thoughts at the sudden weight. He tried to hone in his muddled senses on Frank but couldn’t manage to pinpoint anything else besides where he was squatted.

“Hey Red, it’s okay. You just gotta breathe with me, just match my breaths okay?”

Matt nodded rapidly while he tried to swallow around the knot in his throat as he took in deep heaving breaths. It felt like forever before the tightness in his chest lifted and he could math Frank’s breaths completely.

“You get off threatening innocent people?”

“Jesus fucking Christ, you don’t fucking quit do you?”

“You had the gun and thumbed back the hammer.”

“Listen carefully, okay.”

Matt heard Frank reach into the holster on his side and cock the gun, he tried to push back against the wall he was chained against to try and get away, but it was no use.

“You listening? Yeah, how ‘bout now? You listening?” Frank asked as he laid the barrel against Matt’s forehead.

“Look around, Red. This city smells like shit, and I can’t get the fucking stench from my nose. I think that this world, it needs men that are willing to make the hard call. I do what you fucking can’t. You hit ‘em, and they get back up, and I hit ‘em, and they stay down. I take pride that they can’t do any of that shit again.”
“Most of the people you put down deserve another chance, and if you don’t get that there’s something wrong with you that nothing can fix. You’re insane.”

Frank stood up at that, his stance tense like he was ready to pounce and tear Matt’s throat out. Matt stiffened and felt a bolt of fear shoot up his spine.”

“What’d you just say?”

“You’re…you’re insane, Frank.”

Frank chuckled a bit at that and licked his lips before he flipped his gun once in his hand and slammed the butt of it into Matt’s temple.

He didn’t go out slowly like last time, everything was gone before he could process what had happened.

||

Matt woke up with his head pounding in pain, he could tell that he had a mild concussion from when Frank had used his gun to knock him out. He tried to reorient himself and noticed that he couldn’t move his right hand. When he focused on it, he felt the familiar feeling of a gun in his hand and his finger on the trigger, not able to let go because of several layers of tape wrapped around his hand.

“.357, one round in the channel. Some things, they just… They feel right in your hand, huh?”

Matt swallowed thickly at that, refusing to acknowledge how true that statement was.

“I know what you’re thinkin’ Red. You could shoot me in my knee or shoulder, but that’s not gonna work because I’m all geared up. You’ll have to shoot me in the head to stop me.”

Matt physically recoiled at the thought of shooting Frank, let alone killing the man. He heard him scoff at his reaction and something twisted in Matt’s gut at the disappointment that Frank showed.

“M’ not gonna shoot you, Frank.” Matt slurred, his words jumbled because of the multiple hits he took to his head that night.
“Time to put a face to all your fancy talk about redemption,” Frank growled out while he heaved a barely conscious man out of the stairway and tossed him in front of Matt.

“Elliot Grote a.k.a. Grotto. Caught this fucker trying to skip town by stealing a car.”

“Please, I was running and scared for my life.” He yelped when Frank kicked him in his side and Grotto’s ribs cracked.

“Please stop it. He doesn’t deserve to die, just ‘cause you caught him stealing cars.”

“Is that what you think? Why don’t you tell him a bit about yourself, Grotto?”

“I’m sorry, I’m a nobody. Please, all I do is pour their drinks and drive their cars.”

“You were doing a bit more than that a few months ago,” Frank stated and slammed his foot into Grotto’s ribs again. “Lafayette Street, 2nd Floor. Why don’t you tell us what happened?”

“I didn’t know it was just an address, this guy got wobbly with the wrong people owed something to somebody.”

Frank drew a gun out of his holster and placed the muzzle against Grotto’s forehead, “I’ll give you one more fucking chance.”

“No wait, I’m sorry! I didn’t know that the old woman was there! I didn’t know, I swear!”

Matt’s blood ran cold, and any sympathy he possessed for Grotto seemed to drain out of his body. His hand with the gun dropped to the ground, and he faced Frank with a scowl on his face.

“I won’t be the one to kill him, but you can.”

Frank’s heartbeat picked up at Matt’s statement, his scent had a bit of bitterness to it which Matt recognized as a disappointment, Frank pressed the muzzle harder into Grotto’s head, and the man whimpered before Frank pulled the trigger and a deafening bang rang out. Matt could smelt the gunpowder, blood, and distinct scent of fear as Grotto fell to the ground, no longer alive. Matt dropped his head and furrowed his brows in confusion as he heard Frank approach him.

“If I unchain you are you gonna come after me?” Matt shakes his head to say no, and Frank circled behind him to loosen the chains that kept him secured to the pillar.

Matt went slack and slid down from his upright position, so he now slouched, putting most of his weight against the pillar.

“You need help there, Red?”
“No, I’m fine,” Matt grunted and used the stone behind him to be able to stand up slowly. He managed to slowly tear off the duct tape and click the safety of the gun off before he dropped it onto the ground. He turned away from Frank and leaped off of the rooftop and onto another as he retreated from Frank’s position towards his apartment.

||

Matt didn’t expect to come into the office and be bombarded by Karen talking about the Punisher and the files she had received from Tower the other day. He could smell Karen’s annoyance at the fact that he didn’t show up for Grotto’s funeral, and truthfully, he didn’t care. Foggy called him into his office to talk about a possible new case that they could take on, while he was focused on him, Matt didn’t hear Karen leave with the Punisher files.

“I’m going to go after her.”

“Find him first,” Foggy said, Matt, didn’t need to ask who Foggy was referring to.

||

Matt was crouched, hidden, around fifty feet behind Frank, who was sitting on a bench staring at the carousel in front of him. This place brought back bad memories for Matt, ones of him gasping as he listened to Lisa, die slowly in his arms. He blinked back his tears quickly when he heard several footsteps in the distance closing in on Frank. Maybe five people were approaching him and another seven hanging back in the shadows.

He listened as Fran tore through all of the men, killing every one of them, but then one of them jammed a syringe into Frank’s neck, and Matt smelled the unmistakable scent of a sedative. He rushed forward as Frank stumbled and gripped onto the railing that surrounded the carousel. Matt came out into the light and took hold of Frank’s bicep to steady him.

“What’re you doin’ here, Red?” Frank slurred in confusion but then focused his attention to the front and raised his gun when the rest of the people came out of the shadows as well.

“You’re both surrounded, now be a good lad and drop the iron.” The leader stated, and when Frank didn’t comply, his lackeys raised their weapons, and Matt recognized that they were Tasers from the faint buzz that came from them.

Then the company shot the tasers at the two of them, and he felt Frank shake as he was hit multiple times and Matt shook a little as his heightened senses felt the minimal amounts of electricity that made it through his suit. Frank dropped to his knees and glared at the group in front of them before he fell entirely to the ground, unconscious.

 

Matt faced the group contemplating on whether to stay and attempt to fight or to flee and follow them. As they started to approach the two of them, he made the split-second decision to flee and follow. Matt disappeared into the dark, he used the advantage of his radar to lose the few men who were ordered to tail him. It took a mere thirty seconds for them to give up and return to their leader, Matt stopped in his tracks and listened as they dragged Frank away and into a van that was waiting for them by the curb.

||

“I want my money back.”

Matt stood on the rooftop of the dilapidated building that the Irish were keeping Frank tied to a chair, he had arrived mere seconds ago and was now listening to the happenings below him.

“Your kid’s in a box, but you want your money back, huh?” Frank heaved out.

The leader sucked his teeth and stood up, grabbing Frank’s neck and unleashing several punches into Frank’s stomach, then a final one across his face.

“The Irish may have not invented revenge, but we sure as hell took some time perfecting it. Don’t think you’re showing me something I haven’t seen before, ‘cause your killing spree has all the signs of a man seeking retribution… Am I right?”

Frank spit out the blood held in his mouth, “Okay… Okay, I’ll tell you, I’ll tell you where your money is.”

“Hey, hey, hey, it’ll be over soon. In a jiffy, yeah?”

Frank smirked as the leader leaned forward in glee and surged his head forward so that it slammed against the leader’s nose.

“How’d that feel?” Frank laughed hysterically.

“Boys hold him down!” The leader hissed fiercely while e turned and walked to a table that held many different items upon it. The man chose a drill and grinned menacingly at Frank, “Oh, I hoped it would come to this.” He pressed the whirring drill into Frank’s foot, and he screamed in pain as his bones crunched as they were drilled through.

Matt leaped down from his position when he heard Frank’s screams, he strutted quietly through the hallway only drawing one guard’s attention at a time so he could easily take them out.

The leader gripped Frank head, which now lolled back as he went in and out of consciousness.

“Alright new plan, bring him in.”

Two men dragged a yelping pit bull into the room, it struggled against the chains that had restrained him, trying unsuccessfully to reach Frank.

“It seems you’ve taken a liking to this mutt, now if you don’t tell me where my money is, everything that I’ve done to you I’ll do double to this poor mutt.”

The man walked over and picked up the drill, and started it looking nonchalantly at Frank as he lowered it slowly toward the dog’s paw.

“Hey, let him go, just let him go, you asshole. I’ll tell you where your fuckin’ money is okay? I’ll fuckin’ tell you. You’re money’s in a van, it’s in a van, it’s on 48th and 10th. Just let him go you fucker, let him go.”

“He’s an animal lover that’s sweet.” The leader laughed to himself.

The dog was dragged away from Frank and into a different room where it couldn’t be heard anymore. Matt now stood at the edge of the doorway listening to what was going on, there was a weird squelching noise, and Matt realized after he heard the sound of metal on flesh Frank had hidden a blade under his skin.

The leader was on the phone, giving instructions to a couple of goons on where to find the money. Matt heard the goons give confirmation that the money was safe and in the case, but he quirked his head curiously when one of them said that there was something else. Then a loud explosion over the phone and the leader pulled a gun out stalked over to Frank his finger on the trigger.

Frank reached up and grabbed the leader’s wrist and bent it backward successfully snapping most of the bones in his hand. He took the Glock from him and fired two shots into his back before he stood. Frank limped over to the table and took the shotgun from it before he limped back to the leader who was on the ground, screaming for his guards, without a word Frank shot him in the head.

Matt took that moment to walk into the room, and Frank slouched with a scowl adorning his face, “you still don’t fucking quit.”

Suddenly, several people rushed into the room, and Frank aimed his shotgun at managed to one shot most of them, the rest Matt knocked out with his baton. Frank fell to his knees, and dry heaved over one of the bodies as the pain overwhelmed him momentarily.

“All right, let’s get out of here,” Matt said while heaving Frank up by his arm and lifting him up onto his shoulders, carrying him like he was taught in the Marines.

Before he left the building though he went to the room next door and unchained the pit bull Frank had saved earlier and was thankful when the dog heeled by his side and followed him.

||

The dog had followed them the entire way, which had surprised him. He was so incredibly loyal even though he had known Frank all of three days. Matt panted as he climbed up the steep hill of the cemetery and he grunted as he lowered Frank to the ground so he could lean against one of the gravestones. They both heaved for air as they tried to catch their breath.

“I guess I was wrong,” Frank said suddenly and looked over to Matt.

“About?” Matt inquired.

“You being a pussy.” Matt chuckled a bit at Frank’s statement.

“You should go. I’m past saving. I think I might cash out.” Frank paused and breathed, his breath rattling wetly, and Matt was reminded so much of what Lisa had sounded like.

“You’d have made a hell of a Marine, Red.”

“…I did.”

Frank turned to Matt with a look of shock and disbelief painted on his face.

“Hey, Castle,” Matt said, smiling faintly.

“Murdock?”

Chapter Text

Matt had not noticed the police pull up in time to make sure that he would remain hidden from their sight. Brett kicked the back of his knees, and he dropped to the ground with handcuffs tightened around his wrists. When Brett noticed Frank propped up against the tombstone, he faltered in his actions and decided to release Matt from the cuffs. He stood from his position and stalked away from the Officer, he paused for a second and let out a short whistle that called the pit bull to his side.

Matt was thankful that the streets were clear that night, he couldn’t precisely run along the rooftops with a dog by his side. When he arrived at his apartment, the dog which he decided to name Max, wandered off into his bedroom and Matt to the kitchen. He grabbed one of the many bottles of beer from his fridge and took a sip from it. Then he heard it, the faint flutter of a heartbeat across from him, Matt reached behind him and pulled one of his kitchen knives out in defense.

“Hello, Matthew.” A sultry and accented voice greeted him, Elektra.

“I didn’t know you had a dog?” She leaned forward and took a sip of the bottle that she had on the table next to her. “

“What the hell are you doing here?” Matt growled out.

“You’re not that hard to find.” Elektra chuckled.

Matt approached her slowly, “That’s not what I asked.”

“I see your furniture’s improved, at least.”

“Kinda miss my old futon.”

“I liked breaking it in.”

Elektra stood from her seated position and approached him slowly with perfectly replicated nonchalance. Only for her to sit down in a chair that was only a bit closer to Matt.

“Why are you here, Elektra?”

“Would you believe it if I said I missed you?”

“No.”

“I’m in New York for a meeting, and I thought I’d pop by.”

“Well, you’re not staying here, so…”

“Fine my penthouse in Midtown will have to do, then. We spent some nights there.”

“Look, if you came here to walk down memory lane, I’m kinda busy right now,” Matt said while he walked past Elektra and into his bedroom to strip off his suit. Elektra followed him and leaned against Matt’s door frame.

“I’m sorry. I’ve spent years to convince myself that things happen for a reason that you and I were not meant to be. But I know now. That wasn’t fate. It was a choice. My choice. And I’m sorry.”

Matt sighed in defeat and turned toward Elektra, “Elektra, I killed my father’s murderer that night. I’m fucking pissed that you manipulated me into doing so, but still. At least he won’t be able to orphan any more children like he did to me… and for that, I thank you. But it doesn’t mean that I’m still in love with you, one time I was but now…I don’t know.”

“I’m alone in the world, Matthew… Do you know what that feels like?” Matt scoffed at the question.

“That was a stupid question, of course, you do. And you know what it’s like to clean up your father’s messes. A long time ago, before he died, my father did business with the Roxxon Corporation And thanks to my father’s shitty investments, they hold most of his wealth.”

“Okay?”

“I have a meeting tomorrow with the board at the Yakatomi Building. And I need your help, Matthew.”

“How am I supposed to help you?”

“I want you to use that expensive legal training of yours-“

“No.”

“I’ll pay you well.”

“I don’t want or need any of your money Elektra. And, even if I did accept, there is nowhere near enough time to research.”

“Matthew, you’re the only person that I can trust.”

“Well sweetheart, you don’t break into my apartment and then talk about trust.”

“C’ mon it’ll be fun. Just like old times.” She purred and brushed her knuckles across his cheek.

“Oh, you and I, we have very different ideas of fun… Now get out.” Elektra’s smile dropped, and there was a hint of sadness in her eyes as she walked out of the apartment and closed the door behind her.

Matt sighed and crouched down to pet Max who lied at his feet, he left the dog to got to his kitchen and tried to find something edible and drinkable for the dog. He whistled again for Max to come after he filled a bowl with tap water and another with some leftover chicken from the other night. He ate ravenously nearly choking on his food with how fast he ate and drank his water. Matt trudged back to his room and climbed into his bed. He was mere moments from falling asleep when Max jumped onto his bed and curled into his side, exhaling deeply as he fell asleep as well.

||

Matt walked into the office with a pounding headache and a craving for anything that contained even an ounce of caffeine. Karen entered a couple minutes later, balancing three cups of coffee on the one hand and with her chin. Foggy tried to get them on task about being able to find potential clients that had the sort of money they needed.

“Can we uh, actually talk about these first?” Karen asked and held up a couple files while she walked over to her desk.

“The, uh, the press is still painting Castle like he’s nothing more than some deranged lunatic.” Karen continued.

“Well, it’s not like our boy was out collecting for the Red Cross,” Foggy replied.

“You think that there’s more to the story?” Matt inquired.

“Exactly. I mean, five different papers and not a word about the bullet in his brain, or his military record, or his family.”

Matt felt his stomach drop to his feet, and his heart stopped beating for a solid second, Karen wasn’t supposed to know about Frank’s family. Matt sipped a bit of coffee to try and mask his slight horror at the fact that Karen knew about the Castles.

“I um, I found this picture,” Karen said while pulling out a picture frame from the desk drawer.

“It’s a picture of him and his wife and kids at the carousel.” She continued.

“Where did you find this?” Matt asked with slight venom laced in his voice at the fact that the memories had returned to him because of the subject at hand.

“I sort of broke into his house,” Karen stated nervously.
“You…fucking did what?” Matt asked.

“I know…I don’t need a lecture, or I will take those coffees back.”

Matt swallowed thickly around the knot in his throat and scowled at Karen before he shrugged and shifted his cane, so he put most of his weight on it.

“Look, it’s not just about the press. The DA’s office released their statement, and it’s full of holes, too. Something big is going on here, guys, and it all circles back to Frank Castle-“

“No, no, no, no. No, come on, we successfully dodged a metaphorical bullet and quite a few real ones. We need to be done with the crazy, guys.” Foggy complained and then walked away back to his office.

“I’m sorry. I’m really sorry if I pushed it too far.” Karen stuttered.

“Well, Karen, you did. Please don’t pursue this.” Matt said stiffly before he walked out of the room and through the hallway as he left their building.

||

Matt stalked down the sidewalk as tried to not about the Castles’, just attempted to distract himself from that day at the carousel. He walked ten blocks before he calmed down enough to be able to realize where he was. The Yakatomi Building was only a mere half a block away from his position at that moment, and as he felt too on edge to return to his office, he decided to help Elektra, just that one time.

He turned down one of the many alleyways when he was sure that no one was paying any attention to him. He quickly tossed his guide cane to the side so that it wasn’t noticeable and climbed up the fire escape onto the roof of a building which was adjacent to the Yakatomi. He crouched so he remained hidden and tuned into the room where Elektra was heading, the sharp ‘tap tap’ sound of her heels made it easy to identify her.

“Ms. Natchios, Good Morning.” One of the board members greeted.

“Good Morning.” She responded.

“We hope you know how valuable your business is to the Roxxon Corporation.” He paused as he watched her head straight to the tray of whiskeys and scotches across the room.

“This is Stan Gibson. He’s the money man for our Japanese arm. So, he’ll have the answers you’re looking for. Whether or not he can put them in terms you’ll understand is another matter.” The board member continued ending with a chuckle.

“Let’s all prepared to be dazzled, shall we?” She said and sat down in one of the chairs at the table.

“I’m sure you all have places to be, things to do. With your wives, your mistresses…but I have questions.” She said as she pulled a pen out of her case and twisted the cap, Matt twitched at that because a high-pitched sound started mere milliseconds after that.

“And this subsidiary, what is it exactly?” she continued.

“A medical company.” The ‘money man’ replied.

“And they do?”

“Studies.”

“How specific,” Elektra said condescendingly as she looked to the man.

“Research for pain relievers, treatments for diseases. The names of which I mostly can’t pronounce.”

“How do you determine your acquisitions?”

“Well-“ the man was cut off as his phone rang, and he stood to be able to answer it.

He spoke only Japanese, which had been frustrating until he realized that Elektra was there and he remembered that she could talk and understand said language. But before even thirty seconds had passed the board member who had greeted her had escorted her out of the room with a vague but bullshit excuse.

“I’ll have someone escort you downstairs.”

“Thank you, in this city, a girl needs all the help she can get,” Elektra responded with a cheeky smile and Matt chuckled the tiniest bit at the even bigger bullshit piece she had fed them.

||

Matt called Foggy right after Roxxon and weaved a lie together and told him that he had caught a stomach bug and couldn’t return to the office that day, but he would definitely be in tomorrow. Foggy gave him his regular get well soon wishes and hung up the phone without another word, Matt tried to ration with himself that it was just because he was busy.

He showed up at Elektra’s midtown penthouse in the early afternoon, and he tapped his cane against the wall once to let her know that he wasn’t an intruder.

“See? You missed me too.” She greeted smugly from the second floor.

“I really didn’t, but okay.” He replied.

She sauntered down the stairs and walked, passed him while she swayed her hips. Matt followed her lead over to a table in the corner that held an array of different liquors. He took one of the glasses that were there and chose one of the whiskeys he remembered loving when he was with Elektra and could afford it.

“Can I ask you a question?” Elektra shrugged in response.

“Why’d you take me to Sweeney’s that night?” he asked tentatively.

“That’s easy for fun.”

“For fun? Getting me to kill a man was fun for you?” He whispered in disbelief.

“I didn’t push you into anything. You wanted to.”

“No, I didn’t. Don’t fucking- Don’t act like you know what’s going on inside me, you don’t.”

“There was always this glorious darkness inside you. That’s why I took you to Roscoe Sweeney’s because I knew you would do it. I always did.” She purred.

“Elektra, I was tired of killing, I know you didn’t know what happened earlier, but I was in the fucking Marines. I killed people for a living, I got out because I was tired of it, and then you got me to do it again by shoving the man… who killed my father… in front of me.” He said breathlessly while he picked up the bottle of whiskey and took a long draw from it.

Elektra’s heart pounded in her chest by the end of Matt’s small rant, and he was surprised to recognize the pattern as a nervous one. He was even more amazed when he felt Elektra lean against him and tilt her head up to kiss him. He gently held out his hand and pressed against her chest to stop her.

“Elektra, I’m not mad at you anymore, but, I don’t think I would ever date you again, no offense. I want to be friends with you because honestly, I never hated or even disliked you for handing me my father’s killer. But the truth is I-I don’t think I can fall in love with someone again.” He stuttered out anxiously.

Elektra looked up at him again and gave him a wispy smile at his nervousness, no matter how much she wanted to get back together with Matt. She would never do anything he wouldn’t want to do despite what he thought.

“You can stay if you want. I have food upstairs?” she asked.

“I would love that lead the way.” He replied.

Elektra took his hand and lead him up the stairs she had come down a few minutes ago, she strolled into the kitchen. She walked to the fridge and opened the door and pulled out a pizza box which Matt could tell was from last night. She tossed the box onto the counter, and it slid toward Matt until he could reach it.

“Thanks.”

“You don’t have to thank me for cold pizza, Matthew.”

“Well yeah, but I also want to thank you for understanding. I have a feeling, that-that if it were anyone else they wouldn’t have- Holy fuck is this Buffalo Chicken from Saguaro’s?”

“Indeed it is after you showed me the place it’s the only place I eat at now. You ruined all other pizza for me, Murdock.” She said playfully.

He froze at the name, she had never called him Murdock. No one had ever done it since he had gotten back to the country. He couldn’t tell what was going on outside of his own mind, he can remember killing all of those people. He remembered when he got stabbed when he tried to help Castle that one time. He remembered when he got blinded.

He had sunk down to his knees and fallen back, so he was sitting down just staring into nothing and not being able to hear anything. Elektra was calling out his name, and after the first couple of times of him not responding, she rushed over to his side.

“…ew…thew…Matthew. Are you okay? Can you hear me?” She asked mildly panicked.

“I-I’m fine Elektra. I’m fine.” He said as he stood up and stumbled out of the room.

Elektra followed after him worriedly and watched as he collapsed onto one of the unnecessarily large couches in her living room. He curled into himself as he faced away from her, and his shoulders shook as he breathed heavily. Not even two minutes later, Matt was asleep, and she realized that he probably hasn’t slept in over twenty-four hours because of her surprise visit last night.

She kicked off her heels to make sure she did not make as much sound and went into her bedroom and grabbed a pillow and one of those sheepskin blankets she knew Matt also loved. She returned to the room where Matt had collapsed and gently lifted his head and placed the pillow under it and rested the blanket on top of him.

She saw Matt stop shaking and relax the tiniest bit when he felt a weight on top of him, she smiled softly at the sight and walked away back to her bedroom.
||

Matt jolted awake when he heard the familiar sound of a silencer, he strained as he listened and realized that it was in the lobby of the building. He threw the blanket that had been placed on him off and rushed to where he could sense Elektra.

“People are coming, they’ve got a silencer,” Matt said quickly to her.

“I know I’ve been expecting them.”

“You… what?” Matt growled.

“Here I have something for you.” She walked over and opened a familiar duffle bag, he walked over and picked up his suit helmet.

“We are talking after we finish this, Elektra.”

Matt took the bag and rapidly pulled on his suit, he walked out, jumped high into the air, and latched onto one of the steel rafters. He grunted as he pulled himself up on to it and into a crouching position with hands by his sides to steady himself. Elektra climbed up the stairs to the second floor just in time as six people walked into the loft.

Matt stiffened as one of the men, stopped underneath him and looked around, he took his chance and flipped off of the rafter. Matt put his full force into the drop-kick, which made a successful one-hit knock-out.

Two more men rushed forward holding daggers in their hands, and Matt was grateful that he recognized the fighting style as one Stick had taught him. He matched them blow for blow before he got the upper hand and was able to knock them on to the floor. He finished them off with three hard punches to the head.

Elektra had already handled the other man that came after her and the leader which targeted her. She looked up at Matt panting slightly at the exertion on bringing down two trained fighters.

“Looks like we still got it.” She smiled devilishly.

||

Matt stood in the elevator with Foggy and Karen beside him, the doors opened to an otherwise empty floor besides the several SWAT Team members stationed around it.

“What the hell are you three doing here? The area is restricted beyond this point.” Brett asked, disbelievingly.

“We want to represent Frank Castle.” Matt stepped forward as he addressed Brett.

“Man’s already got a lawyer.” Brett responded.

“Yeah, we met him, not the best choice.” Foggy joined in.

“Brett, we feel that Nelson and Murdock are better equipped to represent Mr. Castle’s best interests. Certainly, over that of his current legal counsel.” Matt added.
“Look, I don’t ask questions, but every firm in the city’s passed this one by. Must be a reason. You’re chasing the wrong ambulance.” Brett said.

“The DA wants the death penalty. The public defender is all but ready to roll over and help.” Karen butted in.

“They’ll even extradite castle out of New York if that’s what it takes,” Matt said.

“So, we thought he’d respond to our strategy of, you know, keeping him alive.” Foggy continued.

Brett sighed deeply and brought them to a table where Matt could hear the faint buzz of electricity coursing through most of the things there. They had to turn in their items for inspection before Brett escorted them to the locked doorway that led to Castle’s room.

“Everything’s been removed from the inside of the room. He’s tied down, but keep your distance and mind the tape. Or my dream is gonna come true, and I’ll get to arrest you.” Brett recited before he opened the door and let the group into the room.

Matt’s heart stuttered when he entered the room, he could smell the metallic scent of blood and a distinct smell of morphine. He walked forward and barely remembered to stop for the tape, the only reason he did was because Karen telling him.

“Frank Castle…” Frank’s eyes fluttered open, and he heard the EKG machine start beeping faster as his heart rate sped up.

“My name is Matthew Murdock. These are my associates, Franklin Nelson, and Karen Page.” Matt continued, and he prayed that Castle wouldn’t say anything that revealed their past together.

“Yeah, I know who you are. You protect shitbags.” Matt scoffed at that silently thanking him for not giving anything away.

“We came here to make you an offer Lieutenant Castle. We don’t want money for our services and aren’t interested in fame... you’re very talented at making powerful enemies Lieutenant, and after you’re…accident…” Matt swallowed thickly and paused to reign in his emotions.

“A DNR order was placed on you and a shoot-to-kill a few days ago, by the DA. If you let us help you, we can help soften your sentence, and help you get back what’s left of your life.” Frank scoffed at the end of Matt’s sentence and looked away.

Karen rushed forward without warning and held out a piece of paper to Castle, Frank’s heart beat even faster when he focused on it.

“You want answers? So do we, but none of us will get them if you’re dead.” Matt’s heart dropped as he realized that Karen held out the picture of Frank’s family at the carousel for him to see.

Frank didn’t get a chance to respond before every one of them heard Reyes outside of the door in the hallway.

“Who’s in there?” She demanded in her annoyingly, cocky voice.

Matt dragged Karen back across the tape just in time before Reyes entered the room angrily.

“What are you doing in here?”

“Just meeting with a prospective client ma’am,” Foggy answered.

Reyes ushered them out of the room forcefully before she tried to trip them up into believing that they could not represent Castle. Matt was the one to swoop in and save the day by reminding Reyes that any records that detailed the Grote case had disappeared from public record. Which in turn got her to lay off the three of them because she had no other cards that she could pull out of her ass. By the time the conversation had finished, Castle had agreed to accept them as their lawyers.

“You coming Matt?” Foggy asked because to him, they had finished their business here.

“Yeah, I’ll meet you back at the office, I’m just gonna go over the logistics with Castle.” He responded with a strained smile.

He re-entered Castle’s room and brought up a chair to the tape line and sat down while he massaged his temples.

“How’s the dog?”

“Really Castle? All of this and all you say is how’s the dog?” Matt asked, annoyed before he calmed down and answered. “He’s fine, and his name is Max,” Frank grunted in acknowledgment.

“Thanks for not telling them that we knew each other…” Matt said as the conversation lulled.

“I figured since you introduced yourself that they didn’t know and you didn’t want them too,” Frank answered, and they fell into a comfortable silence.

“I think there might be… there might be something more about what happened to Maria, Lisa, and Frankie. I want to find out just as much as you… you know this. Also, I’m really sorry that Karen broke into your house. I didn’t know that she was going to do that or I would’ve stopped her.” Matt said.

“It’s fine, and also I ‘preciate what you’re doing for my family and me, means the world.” Frank responded.

“I have to go Frank, but I’ll visit on the pretense of legal counsel,” Frank grunted once again and laid his head back before he closed his eyes.

||

While Matt had gone back to talk to Frank, Karen thought about what had happened in the room. Matt had called him Lieutenant Castle, and from all that Karen had read on Frank, she could not remember anything that said his rank while in the Marines. She pulled out the picture from her folder once again and squinted as she looked at the photo once again. Behind the family, she could see the blurry reflection of the man that looked uncannily like Matt did, he even had a cane.

Karen had not wanted to jump to conclusions, but she did not enough though to go rushing to Foggy with her supposed discovery. She would ask Matt herself on if he had known Castle before all of this. She tucked the picture once again into her folder and looked to Foggy and gave flashed him a smile.