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The Greatest of These

Chapter Text

Looking back, he definitely ignored the pain as a symptom.

 

After all, he hurt most days, usually from a combination of the physical exertion of beating up people and those same people beating him up right back. So of course he dismissed the pain as part of the overall pain.

 

He did make an appointment when he started having to wake up at the night to use the bathroom, and he felt vaguely achy and feverish. He just figured it was some sort of an infection.

 

Matt describes his symptoms, skirting over the description of pain in favour of the others.

The doctor pauses after asking him if there’s been blood in his urine.

“Actually we should probably just check.”

Matt agrees that would probably be the best.

 

He pees in a cup and goes home after receiving a prescription for antibiotics and making an appointment for the next week.

 

“I’d like to do an ultrasound,” the doctor tells him next visit. He does not explain why. Matt’s fever and infection symptoms have left after the antibiotics, but the pain still remains.

“Have you ever been diagnosed with high blood pressure?” he is asked, the blood pressure cuff still half inflated on his arm.

He just shakes his head. The doctor makes another note.

 

He goes for the ultrasound. He obviously can’t see it, and even if he could, would be unable to identify anything about it, but he can hear the tech’s nervous heartbeat as she runs the wand over his back and side.

 

Two days later his doctor’s office calls with a referral to a nephrologist.

“That’s a kidney doctor,” the woman on the phone tells him.

He figured it probably was, based on the heavy investigation of his kidneys in the past month, but does not say so.

 

She gives him a date that is only two weeks away, and he puts the appointment into his phone. He’s also sent a prescription for blood pressure meds, which he fills and dutifully takes. Blood pressure and kidneys are related, right?

 

A few days later, he’s called by the nephrologist’s office and is sent for bloodwork ahead of his appointment. It takes the nurse two tries to get his vein, and he’s sure the bruise looks great on his arm. He makes sure to not roll his sleeves up that week so Foggy won’t notice.

 

He hasn’t mentioned any of this to Foggy yet.

 

 


 

 

He never really means to keep secrets from Foggy, but things just tend to snowball in his life.

 

It was how the whole Daredevil thing happened. He never meant to not tell Foggy that he was sometimes a vigilante, but if he wanted to talk about that, he’d have to mention his abilities, and that was just a whole thing he didn’t want to get into. So he just didn’t tell Foggy about anything related to that until he collapsed on his floor and woke up with Foggy in the room, understandably upset.

 

That’s something Matt never wants to repeat, which is what his brain keeps telling him every time he pointedly doesn’t tell Foggy something else, like this whole kidney issue.

And then he just…. Doesn’t.

 

(There are more things he doesn’t tell Foggy, things that he doesn’t even let himself think, because if he doesn’t think about it, doesn’t acknowledge it, then he’s not keeping anything from Foggy, just from himself.)

Chapter Text

The nephrologist introduces herself as Dr Nadiya. She asks Matt about his symptoms, the same thing his other doctor had already gone through, and checks his blood pressure.

“He put me on a medication,” Matt tells her. “I’ve been taking it.”

She makes a note. “Yes, and it’s improved since your other visit, which was… two weeks ago?”

Matt nods.

“That’s good. It’s still a bit high, but the dose can be increased if it’s working well.”

 

She checks his chart for a minute, and then sits down across from him.

“Based on the ultrasound, it looks like there are cysts in your kidneys.”

Matt doesn’t know much, but he knows that can’t be good.

“Additionally, the blood and urine tests also point towards kidney issues. Your original urine sample at your doctor’s office showed signs of an infection, but I believe that was cleared up with antibiotics?”

Matt nods.

“Good. The high blood pressure also points towards a certain condition, and the ultrasound is very specific for diagnosis. It’s called polycystic kidney disease. The disease is passed on genetically, and the kind you have is likely the dominant version, so either one of your parents would have had it. Normally when a person is diagnosed with this disease, they know to look out for it in their children. Do either of your parents have kidney problems?”

Matt shakes his head. “My dad is dead, and I don’t remember my mother.”

“Did your father die from kidney disease?”

Matt chokes back a laugh. “No, he was murdered. I guess he could have had kidney disease, but it’s not like we’d know.”

“Ah. I’m sorry.”

Matt shakes his head. “It was a long time ago.”

“So you are right that he could have been affected, but hadn’t shown any symptoms yet. Normally, most people present with symptoms around their 40s or later, but there are wide variations. Some people can go their entire lives without symptoms, and other are diagnosed as children and require dialysis in their teens.”

“What does this mean for me? Will I need dialysis?”

He wasn’t entirely sure what dialysis consisted of, but just imagined himself hooked up to a large machine for hours of every day.

“You may eventually, but not at this point. Your kidney function is still relatively good. What’s more of a concern is your blood pressure, since that can further contribute to kidney damage and accelerate the progression of the disease.”

“So more medication?” Matt guesses.

“Yes, I’m going to increase the dose you’re on. I want you to check in with your doctor in about a month to make sure it’s working. If you experience side effects with that one, we can switch, or go back to the current dose and see about adding another medication, but let’s not make problems for ourselves. ”

 

She scribbles out a prescription and hands it to him before sitting down across from him.

“I’m going to go into a basic explanation of the disease, but feel free to stop me if you don’t understand something or have any questions. I know it will probably be a lot to take in, which is why we usually send patients home with some literature and pamphlets.”

She pauses. “I don’t think we have any in braille,” she continues, apologetic.

“I have a friend who can read them to me.”

“Okay, so we’ll give you those. There is also a lot of information online, as long as you make sure to look at reputable sources. That information will also be in the brochures. What do you do for work?”

“I’m a lawyer.”

“So you’re probably well versed in how to find reliable sources of information.”

Matt grins. “I’d like to think so, yeah.”

“It’s also good to know that you aren’t in a job that has a high risk of trauma or harm, since you can be at risk of bleeding because of this condition.”

“Like if I was a professional football player?”

She laughs. “Yes. I’d have to recommend you retire if that were the case.”

“What about sports? I do a lot of boxing.”

“Against other people, or solo?”

“Uh, both.”

“I would suggest avoiding boxing with other people. I’m going to be honest, I don’t know how much of a contact sport boxing is, but I’d imagine with other people hitting you, there’s a risk.”

Matt nods. “Okay. No more boxing with opponents. Got it.”

He was lying, of course.

 

By the time he leaves, his head has been flooded with information and he’s staggering under the weight of it. He’s been given an updated prescription, told to schedule another appointment with his doctor to recheck his blood pressure, and a host of information regarding what to do if he experiences certain symptoms.

 

The pain in his abdomen seems more present as he tries to fall asleep that evening, as if knowing its cause somehow contributed to it.

Chapter Text

He tries to read the pamphlets with his fingers first, but the pamphlets are glossy and beyond his abilities. Then he uses the app on his phone, but it doesn’t do the best with what must be columns and different colours.

 

So the next time Foggy comes over, he leaves them casually scattered on the coffee table.

 

“Matty, what are these?” he asks.

“Some light reading material.”

Foggy is glaring at him. He can tell.

Matt tries to smile at him.

“Matthew. Why do you have pamphlets about kidney disease on your coffee table.”

Matt just keeps standing there, trying to smile at him.

“Did you want me to help you read them?”

He nods.

Foggy sighs and collapses into the couch. Matt sits next to him, considerably more neatly.

 

“’What does a kidney do?’” he reads. “Do you want me to skip that part?”

Matt nods.

“’What is autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease?’ Or ADPKD. I’m gonna call it that because that’s a lot of words. ‘ADPKD is an inherited condition in which fluid filled cysts develop and grow in both kidneys. People with ADPKD may develop a few cysts, but if you have ADPKD you are likely to develop multiple cysts, sometimes hundreds.’ Holy shit Matt.”

“Can you keep reading?” he asks softly.

“Matty. Buddy. I know you don’t just have these for leisure reading, and I can only assume this is your way of trying to talk about it. Are you sick?”

“I mean. Not really. I do have this kidney thing, but it’s still early stage, so I don’t feel sick.”

Foggy nods. “Okay. ‘Most people with ADPKD have inherited a faulty gene from one parent and a normal gene from the other parent.’”

 

Matt sits back in the couch and listens as Foggy reads about the types of ADPKD, how it’s diagnosed, symptoms (some of which he remembers experiencing, then dismissing as unimportant), and what will eventually happen to him.

 

“’By the age of 60, 40-50% of people with ADPKD will develop kidney failure and need dialysis or a kidney transplant.’ That doesn’t seem like a huge percentage, or even that much of an issue for you right now. It’s ages away.”

 

Matt doesn’t say anything. He doesn’t know what.

 

“The next section is about other problems that you can also have. I’m going to paraphrase, cause they’re bullet points and some of them are not that short, which is like the opposite of how bullet points should work. So, high blood pressure-”

“-have it-”

“-urine infections-”

“-had one-”

“-colonic diverticulosis, weakness and swelling of blood vessels in the brain that can lead to aneurysms, holy shit, dehydration, leaky heart valves, and development of cysts in other organs.” He sets the pamphlet down and looks over at Matt. “You sure you’re okay?”

“I only have the first one.”

“Yeah, you and like, half the people I know. It’s the rest of these that are more concerning. Brain aneurysms are like, a huge thing.”

“I’m fine,” Matt promises.

“That’s not something you can guarantee. You don’t have control over this.” Foggy sighs and just sits there for a minute. Matt’s trying to think of something to say when Foggy keeps reading.

“’When should I call for help?’ Oh, pay close attention to this section. I know the idea of calling for help is foreign to you, but you might wanna take note. ‘Blood in your urine. Symptoms of a urine infection: pain, fever, pain, cloudy or smelly urine. Symptoms of a kidney stone: severe pain in your side that comes in waves. Symptoms of a brain hemorrhage: sudden and severe headache with neck stiffness, feeling sick, symptoms of a stroke, confusion, and discomfort in bright light.’ Well the last one is irrelevant, and also if you’re confused I don’t think you’ll remember to call a doctor or something, but yeah.”

Matt hums, and Foggy flips through the remaining pages.

 

“Bad news Matt, you’re going to have to eat a healthy diet and quit smoking. I know this will be very difficult for you, but it is for the good of your health.”

Matt throws himself across the length of the couch, which leaves him draped over Foggy’s legs like a fainting damsel.

“It will be punishingly difficult,” he sighs, throwing an arm across his face, “but with your help, I think I can manage.”

“You’re also supposed to avoid anti inflammatory painkillers, which is a fucking joke because I don’t think you’ve ever taken painkillers in your adult life, ditto with medications, which is the next point, followed by-”

He stops suddenly.

“What?”

“’Avoid contact sports’,” Foggy reads softly.

“Oh. I already talked with my doctor about that,” Matt says, wiggling around on Foggy’s bony knees to make himself more comfortable.

“And you’re going to do it?”

Matt doesn’t answer, which is answer enough in itself. Foggy shoves him off his knees.

“You didn’t say that to your doctor though, did you,” he accuses. It’s not a question because he already knows the answer.

“You know I can’t stop,” Matt whispers, folding himself back into the opposite end of the couch.

There’s a hand around his wrist, beckoning him back. He lets himself be pulled, and Foggy meets him in the middle of the couch, resting their foreheads together.

“Listen Matty. I know that there is something inside you that you think will break if you don’t do this, that you feel like you owe it to every person in this city to always be there for them, for Daredevil to always be there for them, but sometimes I think you forget that without Matt, there is no Daredevil. So Matt needs to take care of himself. I can’t make you stop, and I don’t think I could either, and that path… I think if I try to go down that one it’ll just be dark for both of us. So all I’m asking is that you take care of yourself. Because whether you believe it or not, this city needs Matt a hell of a lot more than it needs Daredevil.”

 

Matt nods, his eyes shut tightly against the tears that threaten to spill out. “Okay.”

 

Foggy pulls him into a hug and they end up pressed against each other on the couch as Foggy continues reading him the pamphlets.

 

 


 

 

He does think about stopping. He thinks about what Foggy said, and even what he didn’t say. He didn’t say that he needed Matt more than he needed Daredevil. Matt thinks he wanted to, but instead framed it as the city needing him as one rather than the other. But why didn’t he say that then? Does Foggy think that Matt holds the needs of the city above Foggy? Surely Foggy knows that isn’t true.

He should know that Matt is more willing to do things for Foggy than he is for the city, no matter how much he tries to claim otherwise.

 

So if Foggy didn’t say it, maybe it was because what he said was true. This was about the city.

 

For some reason, the thought makes him unsettled and itching to hurt someone. So he does what he has been told not to do, by both his doctor and his best friend, albeit not in the same words.

He puts on the suit and goes to pick a fight.

 

He manages it well enough for weeks, months. He doesn’t get hit, and is free enough of bruises that he can show his face in the office without Foggy loudly glaring at him. Foggy doesn’t comment on the newspaper articles that pop up, detailing his occasional victories. If they both ignore it, they don’t have to talk about it.

He goes back to the doctor, finds out his blood pressure is in a range that apparently makes them happy, and makes a follow-up appointment in six months.

 

It’s fine. He’s fine.

Chapter Text

He’s rescuing a woman from a would be rapist when the asshole elbows him in the side and the pain is instant and blinding. The woman has run off, and after he elbowed Matt, the man ran off as well in the other direction. Matt takes a minute on the ground, curled around his side, trying to catch his breath. The sharpness of the pain fades a little, but remains constant.

 

He heads home after that. He kicks off the suit, leaving it on the floor, and after reconsidering, kicks it under the bed. He dry swallows two Vicodin from the prescription that had been given to him shortly after his diagnosis, which he thought he’d never need, and falls into bed, curling around the pain in his abdomen and hoping it passes by the morning.

 

He sleeps restlessly, for maybe 2 hours out of the night, and by the time his alarm goes off, the pain has only increased despite the meds. He toys with the idea of going to the doctor, and decides to wait until after he gets dressed to decide.

 

When his urine is full of blood, he supposes that makes his decision for him.

“I’m not going to make it in this morning,” Matt tells Foggy over the phone while pulling his socks on.

“You sick?”

“Sort of,” he admits. “I think I fucked up one of my kidneys. Figured I’d get it checked out.”

“Matty, if you’re admitting this, it’s gotta be bad. Are you okay?”

“I mean, it hurts a ton, but I don’t think I’m gonna die, if that’s what you’re asking.”

Foggy makes a concerned noise.

Matt sighs. “I’ll call you later and let you know how I’m doing.”

“You better.”

 

He struggles to get the rest of his clothes on and wishes again that his apartment had an elevator as he painstakingly makes his way down the stairs.

 

The nurse at triage makes tutting noises at his vital signs, and Matt can’t determine whether that’s a good or bad thing. The pain is making him lightheaded and he desperately wants to sleep. He struggles with the name of the kidney disorder (“Cystic kidney disease? It’s the dominant one. I’m sorry I should have gotten it written down.”) and also manages to remember his nephrologist.

 

He goes to stand up when the nurse is finished with him and finds that the room fades out for a second, only returning when he finds himself back in the chair again.

 

Things move a bit quicker after that. He’s on a bed with an IV in his arm within ten minutes. Along with the fluids, he’s given pain meds, and the pain in his side and back uncurls a little bit. Someone palpates his side, and the pain spikes again. There’s an ultrasound wand pressed to him, and even the medication isn’t enough to stop him from clenching his teeth.

 

The fuzziness that the pain medication affords him means he doesn’t care too much about the people talking over him.  He’s told he needs a scan, and his bed is moved through whatever space he’s in. Three dimensions have stopped making sense, and the only things that exist are the scratchy sheets he’s pressed up against and the plastic pillow.

 

He’s made to lie flat and told to stay still while a machine moves around him. The noise would probably be overwhelming if he wasn’t miles away.

 

Space moves around him and he’s returned to a bed, a curtain, a cubicle.

 

He is told the doctor will be in to talk to him soon, and Matt wonders how long he’s been there. Wonders if the passage of time is still the same as before he entered the hospital.

 

His phone, somewhere nearby, announces Foggy is calling him.

Matt reaches out into the abyss, beyond the two dimensions that his body is touching, and manages to locate it out of pure dumb luck.

 

“Foggy?”

“Hey Matty. I know you said you were going to call me, but I just worry, you know, it’s not that I don’t trust you to let me know what’s going on, most of the time anyway, but I just wanted to be sure. So?”

“So?” Matt echoes.

“So how are you?”

“Two dimensional,” Matt says, because that’s all that comes to mind.

There’s a beat of silence. “Okay I’m going to need you to explain that one.”

“They gave me painkillers after I almost passed out at triage, although I think that was from low blood pressure and not pain,” Matt explains.

Foggy sighs, and Matt can imagine that he’s holding his head in one of his hands, the phone held in the other.

“Which hospital?” he finally asks.

“Same one.”

“I’ll be there soon, okay?” he promises.

Matt smiles as Foggy hangs up.

 

He drifts a bit more, and then Foggy is there.

“You look rough buddy,” he says sympathetically. “How are you feeling?”

“The drugs are nice. So not much pain.”

“So what is wrong? You said something about your kidney?”

“Oh. Yeah I was peeing blood. A lot of it. And the pain. That’s something I was told to go to the hospital for. The both of them at once.”

“And you did. Wow. I’m proud.”

Matt thinks Foggy is mocking him, but can’t hear his heartbeat to tell.

 

“Mr Murdock? I’m Dr Emilio. I work here in the ER. We’ve contacted your nephrologist with the results of your scans. It appears you’ve ruptured one of the cysts in your right kidney, which is causing the bleeding and the pain.”

“Okay,” he says. He’s not sure if more of a response is expected of him.

“What kind of treatment is there for that? Will he need surgery?” Foggy asks.

Matt’s thankful that someone is doing the work.

“Not unless the bleeding doesn’t stop. We’re going to admit him for fluids and pain medication, and keep an eye on the bleeding. If it doesn’t stop or slow down, he might need a procedure to close the blood vessels in that area. He’s going to be admitted under the care of his nephrologist, and she will be making sure he won’t need any further interventions.”

He pauses, making sure they aren’t going to ask for clarifications or something.

“Do you have any questions Mr Murdock?”

Matt shakes his head and the world moves dizzily around him.

“Okay, well if you do, let one of the nurses know and I’ll do my best to answer them. We’re just waiting on a bed upstairs, and it shouldn’t be more than an hour before you’re admitted.”

 

He doesn’t know how long it is before his bed is moving through space again. Not long enough for the painkillers to wear off, evidently. There are hallways and elevators and he swears he gets spun in a circle before the journey seems to come to an end. There’s another person in the room, but he can’t tell much more than that.

“Oh, you’ve got a roommate,” Foggy comments. “That’s nice.”

 

The nurse bustling around Matt ignores him, checking things that Matt can’t decipher with his head all fogged up.

Finally she stands in front of him. “Your doctor left an order to monitor your urine output. You’re going to need a catheter put in.” Addressing Foggy, she tells him, “Sir, you’re going to have to leave.”

 

Foggy leaves the room faster than Matt thinks he might have ever moved in his life. He wishes he could do the same.

Chapter Text

Apparently he’s still peeing blood. He’s not shocked by that information, although it would have been a nice surprise if he had stopped. If this whole thing was just blown out of proportion and that he really just needed to rest at home. He’s not that lucky though.

 

The nurse leaves, and Foggy is allowed back in the room.

 

“I think you set a new land speed record,” Matt tells him.

“Well, you know, privacy and all that,” Foggy says, gesturing vaguely. He lowers his voice. “Uh, I think your roommate is like 90 years old and quite possibly completely deaf. So if he kicks it during the night, don’t be too surprised.”

“Really Foggy?”

Foggy shrugs.

“At this rate I might not even notice,” Matt says. “I’m still very drugged.”

“For once in your life,” Foggy sighs, dropping into the bedside chair.

“What can I say? I’ve turned a corner. And apparently I’m very sensitive to narcotics because of my lack of exposure.” He considers it. “Also I don’t think I mentioned that I took Vicodin last night.”

Foggy very audibly drops his face into his hands and mutters something that Matt can’t make out.

Matt decides it’s probably not important.

 

He thinks he falls asleep for a bit, and is woken up by the nurse putting a blood pressure cuff around his arm.

 

He declines the pain meds the next time they’re offered, and an hour later, regrets that decision. Foggy is watching him from the bedside.

“You know it wasn’t a one time offer, right? You can ask a nurse and they’ll give you the meds.”

“I know, but I hate the way they make me feel, like I’m… disconnected and floating. Everything is dull and fuzzy.”

“Yeah, and how is that working out for you right now?” Foggy asks as Matt winces against another stab of pain.

“Maybe a lower dose,” he cedes.

“I’ll get the nurse,” Foggy tells him, standing up and stretching. Too many of his joints pop and Matt makes a face.

“Don’t,” he warns, and Matt just smiles instead.

 

Foggy disappears down the hallway.

 

He returns with a nurse who injects something into his IV. Matt hopes it’s a lower dose.

 

He must have fallen asleep after that, because he wakes up at some point, still feeling the heavy influence of the drugs as well as the pain again. He’s not an expert, but he’s pretty sure one is supposed to prevent the other. He’s also managed to get a headache despite the painkillers, which is definitely unfair.

 

“Foggy?” he calls softly into the room. He’s pretty sure his friend isn’t there. He can’t hear his heartbeat, and even through the haze of the drugs could probably pick up on the presence of another person.

Well, aside from the very old roommate on the other side of the curtain. No one other than him.

 

He’s sure there’s something he could be doing to find a nurse, or anyone really, but it seems like a lot of work.

 

He sleeps more, or maybe just drifts, because he hears as soon as Foggy gets back, the smell of coffee accompanying him.

 

“Oh hey, you awake?” Foggy says. “I ran to get a snack and some coffee. You’ve been asleep for most of the day.”

Matt frowns.

“You okay?”

Matt lifts a hand up to his head and almost misses. He thinks he’s dizzy, but doesn’t want to check. “I feel bad,” he mumbles.

“Yeah, no shit,” Foggy tells him, grabbing at something next to him on the bed. “You look like a ghost.”

Matt isn’t really sure what that’s supposed to mean, except it seems important.

 

He might miss a few steps, because there’s a nurse taking his blood pressure again, and he didn’t notice her show up. Someone is taking blood from his arm. Someone is sticking tubing on his face and he tries to bat it away but his hands are gently pulled back to rest on the sheets.

“It’s okay Matt, they’re trying to help you.”

“Foggy?” he asks.

“Yeah. You’re bleeding more.”

Matt’s hand reaches out, grasping for something, and Foggy grabs it. With the contact, Matt finally feels tethered, like he’s not going to spin off into the universe if he closes his eyes now.

 

“Matt, it’s Dr Nadiya. Your blood tests show that you’re still bleeding and you’re losing too much blood. We’re giving you a transfusion, but we need to get the bleeding to stop. We’re going to perform a procedure to try and make the vessels stop bleeding. If that doesn’t work, we might have to take the kidney out completely. Do you understand?”

He doesn’t, not entirely, but he nods anyway.

 

The pain sparks, and then it and he both fade.

Chapter Text

He blinks and that somehow makes his ears start working again, because a rush of noise hits him all at once.

“Matt, are you feeling any pain?”

He considers it. He’s not entirely sure if he’s feeling anything. That has to be good, right? He’s not sure. He’s also not sure what the question was, so he closes his eyes instead of responding.

 

 


 

 

He blinks and it feels familiar.

“Oh good, you’re awake. I was getting worried.”

Foggy. Matt can place his voice immediately. What he doesn’t know is why he was worried. Did he do something to worry Foggy? He doesn’t remember.

“Are you awake or are you just opening your eyes before falling back asleep again. It’s okay if you are.”

“What?” he mumbles.

“Oh that’s new. Hey Matty. You’re in the hospital. You had to have a procedure done because your kidney was bleeding. Do you remember?”

 

He has a vague recollection of pain and sleeping and waking up only to feel worse.

“Is it better?”

“Oh yeah, the procedure was apparently very successful. You’ve been sleeping it off for a while now. Apparently your tolerance for pain meds is super low.”

Matt hums. He certainly feels like he’s on a lot of pain meds. It’s not unpleasant, especially if he’s had surgery recently, because he can’t feel anything.

“But they were able to do the less invasive procedure, which is great, because it means you still have your kidney.”

Matt nods. He is kinda attached to it, even if it doesn’t work that great and hurts a bunch of the time.

“I think I’ll sleep some more,” he tells Foggy.

“Sounds good buddy. I might not be here when you wake up, because the nurses seem to want to kick me out, but I’ll be back as soon as I can, okay?”

“Of course,” Matt mumbles, and he’s already falling asleep, but still notices when Foggy’s hand lets go of his.

Even unconscious, a part of him misses Foggy.

 

 


 

 

The painkillers start wearing off at some point, and he has no clue what time it is, because hospitals seem to exist outside the linear concept of time. Even if he wasn’t blind, there are always lights on, always people in the hallway talking, always someone somewhere crying. If he was told the time, he wouldn’t know if it was am or pm.

 

His kidney isn’t the only thing that hurts then, there’s also a bandage on his thigh covering some sort of incision. The headache he had earlier that day, or maybe yesterday, is gone, and he realizes it was probably something to do with shock rather than an actual headache. Looking back, there were a few things he should have noticed and acted on, but if he was in shock, it certainly wasn’t his fault for going to sleep and ignoring them.

He just wouldn’t tell Foggy that.

 

Not telling Foggy things was different than keeping secrets.

(How is he such a terrible fucking liar? Lawyers were supposed to be good at lying, and with the addition of a secret identity, Matt should be better at it by now. Because he wasn’t even fooling himself with that one.)

Chapter Text

He’s released from the hospital a few days later with orders to rest and continue taking his blood pressure medication. Matt gave them a story about slipping on the stairs and falling onto his back, which he thinks they believed.

Foggy is less easy to fool.

 

He’s just gotten settled on his couch after the punishing climb up the stairs, when Foggy sits on the coffee table and stares at him.

“So, did you learn your lesson about ‘contact sports’?” he asks, making air quotes as he says it.

Matt closes his eyes and tries to push past the panic in his chest. He’s tried to explain it to Foggy before, the overwhelming knowledge that he can’t stop being Daredevil, despite the risks to his health.

“I know,” Matt says. “I know.” He sighs. “I’m trying.”

“I know you’re trying,” Foggy says softly. “I just worry about how well you’re doing at it.”

Matt nods, his eyes closed like it will somehow help him block out the desperation in his friend’s voice.

“Cause I love you too much for you to die of some stupid kidney thing because you turn 40, okay?” Foggy says kindly.

Matt aches a little with how earnestly he says it.

 

He will die one day, whether it’s from kidney failure or an infection or getting shot, or maybe something that he hasn’t even considered yet, and the worst thing about that is that Foggy will be left behind, never knowing how much he meant to Matt.

 

A voice that sounds suspiciously like Father Lantom whispers well what if does know? What if you tell him?

And Matt is just medicated enough to entertain the thought.

 

“Oh shit, please don’t cry,” Foggy says, and Matt hadn’t even realized he was, but his hands come away wet from his cheeks. Foggy is on the couch with him now, heart racing nervously at the thought of having made him cry, when it’s just the opposite.

“I’m okay,” he says. Even he doesn’t believe it. “I don’t want to die without you knowing how important you are to me.”

“Oh Matty,” Foggy breathes. “You’re not going to die. I’m sorry I said that.”

Matt shakes his head because Foggy still isn’t getting it. “I will die eventually, and I’m afraid that if I don’t say it now, I might never say it, because I’m still medicated and afraid and you’re sitting right there and you mean so much to me and I don’t ever want to think about the possibility of me dying without having told you that I love you.”

“Oh Matty. Of course I know that.”

Matt shakes his head emphatically. “No. Not like that. Like this,” he says, and his hands are on Foggy’s cheeks and he’s kissing Foggy desperately, because he could lose his nerve at any second and this might be the most important thing he’s ever done in his life.

 

There’s a split second where his heart stops, because Foggy doesn’t do anything, doesn’t lean in or away, doesn’t seem to react, and Matt wonders if he’s ruined their friendship forever, if he’s fucked this up beyond repair, but it’s only a split second.

Because Foggy kisses back.

 

 


 

 

Foggy insists on making French toast while Matt supervises from the couch the next morning, because as he reminds Matt, “You’re supposed to be taking it easy.”

 

So instead Matt just sits there with a stupid grin on his face, because he’s less high on painkillers and the truth still remains that he kissed Foggy and Foggy kissed him back and then spent the night without the pretense of both of them being drunk.

 

Foggy hums to himself as he cooks, and possibly knowing that Matt is paying close attention to him, starts dancing a bit too.

Matt helpfully tells him when the French toast is ready to be flipped, and crosses his fingers as Foggy tosses it up in the air. The first slice makes it back to the pan intact, but something goes wrong with the second slice, and there is just a wet noise as it hits the brick wall.

“Huh,” Foggy says quietly.

Matt pretends to be busy with his phone.

 

“Are we dating now?” Foggy asks him over breakfast. He shoves half a piece of bread in his mouth after asking so Matt can’t even ask for clarification or pretend to not understand.

“If you want to,” he replies.

“Matt,” Foggy says seriously, his mouth half full of dough. “I’ve wanted to date you ever since I met you and your dumb wounded duckling face.”

Matt beams.

Chapter Text

They both take the weekend off, and go into work on Monday, despite Foggy’s urging for Matt to take another day off at home.

 

Karen can somehow tell immediately when they step in the office.

“Finally!” she exclaims. “People owe me money.”

Matt frowns. “Who?”

Karen shrugs. “Brett. Marci. Matt’s priest. The guy at the coffee shop down the street.”

“Okay, we get it,” Foggy tells her. “Glad we could be of assistance.”
“I’d split it with you, but I’m going to give myself a bonus instead.”

“Sounds fair enough.”

 

On a more serious note, she stops by Matt’s office later in the morning, closing the door gently and sitting down on the couch.

“I’m glad you’re okay. Foggy was pretty scared when he called and said you were headed to surgery. I think that was the first time it really hit him.”

Matt had told Karen about his kidney disease not long after he’d told Foggy. It was easier with her, which he was thankful for.

“Thanks,” he says, because he doesn’t know what else to say.

Karen leans in closer, even though Matt could hear her from across the office, and she knows it.

“And let me be clear, I’m glad you’re dating, because it’s honestly taken too damn long for you guys to get your heads out of your asses and talk to each other, but if you hurt him, I don’t care who you are. You’ll regret it.”

Matt is a little bit alarmed, because she’s not lying. She believes it. Whether she could make it happen is another story, but he still doesn’t want to risk it.

“Noted. I’m assuming you’ll be telling Foggy the same thing?”

She scoffs. “I will, but without as many threats. I’ve known the two of you long enough to know that he’s not the self-sabotaging one in relationships.” She softens a bit. “You’ll both be good for each other. But you can’t do your sacrificial bullshit if you want a relationship to work out, okay?”

She stands up from the couch and comes around Matt’s desk to give him a kiss on the cheek.

“Maybe your priest can give you some advice on that. I’ll be sure to let him know you might be stopping by when I collect his money.”

She smirks at him and returns to her own desk, leaving Matt in awe of her sheer audacity.

 

 


 

 

He doesn’t go out that week. He still has sutures in his leg where they had to insert the catheter that travelled to his kidney and stopped the bleeding. Instead he spends nights with Foggy, waking up in an embrace or with a leg throw over top of him.

 

He loves it.

Chapter Text

“So I’m guessing Karen came to collect,” Matt says that weekend when he goes to see Father Lantom. It’s late, so they’re the only two in the church.

“She did indeed. Very pleased with herself, and I have to say, I’m happy for you.”

“Did you bet that Foggy and I wouldn’t be in a relationship?”

“Oh no,” Father Lantom chuckles. “I had bet her it would be months ago. You cost me $20.”

“Pretty sure you shouldn’t be betting about those sorts of things,” Matt grumbles. “Isn’t it against the spirit of the church?”

Father Lantom waves a hand. “What’s the worst they could do? Fire me?”

 

They both sit quietly in the grandness of the church.

 

“I nearly died,” Matt admits. “I’ve nearly died before, but for some reason, this time it made me realize I didn’t want to die without telling him.”

“Is it going to change anything?”

Matt considers the question and decides he doesn’t want to pretend to misunderstand.

“I want to say yes. And it does, because it makes it that much harder for me, because I know he doesn’t want me to, because I know that he’ll be waiting for me to get home safely. But at the same time, I can’t just sleep next to him while hearing the sirens and the screams and the calls for help.” His fingers are digging into his palms, and he consciously works to relax. “But every time I try to tell him I can’t explain it and just get frustrated, and he gets upset, and I know he’s right, because he so often is. I just can’t convey that.”

“Have you told him that yet?” Father Lantom asks, despite already knowing the answer.

Matt doesn’t answer, just turns towards the front of the church and prays for understanding.

 

 


 

 

“Please tell me you’re not doing what I think you’re doing,” Foggy says later that week, having discovered Matt changing into his Daredevil outfit in the dark.

“Three girls have gone missing this week. The police think they’re being used for sex trafficking, but haven’t left the country yet. I can’t sit here and let that happen.”

“And why can’t the police do their job? Why does it always have to be you?”

“Believe me Foggy, I would love it if someone else would do it, could do it. But they can’t. The police are limited by the law, and no one else does things the way I do. There isn’t exactly a long line of vigilantes waiting for their turn.”

“But why you?” Foggy asks desperately.

Matt shrugs, turning away so Foggy can’t see his face. “Because no one else will. And I can’t live with that.”

 

He takes the stairs two at a time and flings himself off the roof, catching a nearby fire escape with his grappling hook, and swinging across the street. Once out of view of the apartment, he crouches behind a water tower and tries to calm down. He can’t be emotional for this.

He can’t.

 

 


 

 

He’s home by 3am, the three missing girls safely in police custody on their way to the hospital. One of the men responsible was lucky enough to be heading straight to the police station, and the other four had various injuries and fractures, and were instead also headed to the hospital.

 

Matt will probably have a black eye in the morning, and some assorted bruises, but nothing too bad.

 

He’s half expecting Foggy to be waiting up to make sure he’s okay, or yell at him, maybe both, but the apartment is empty.

 

He’s kind of shocked.

 

He showers quickly, and takes an icepack to bed, hoping to minimize the face bruising enough that Karen wouldn’t try to put makeup on him at the office.

 

He doesn’t sleep.

Chapter Text

“You look like a pile of lukewarm garbage,” Karen tells him the next day. She digs in her desk drawer for the makeup that Matt knows is there.

“Good morning to you too.”

Karen pushes him into his chair and gets to work covering up the bruise that the ice didn’t manage to prevent.

“Someone punched you,” she guessed. “I’m guessing that didn’t happen during the daylight hours. And because Foggy didn’t arrive with you, I’m guessing he also didn’t spend the night. Your first fight?”

“We’ve had many fights before,” Matt mumbles.

“As a couple,” she clarifies, blending concealer on his cheek.

“I guess.”

“You should apologize,” she tells him. “You know how much he worries. He probably didn’t get much sleep last night either.”

Matt grumbles.

Karen pauses. “Those missing girls?” she asks.

“Yeah,” Matt says softly.

Karen nods and finishes blending the makeup. “I’ll see what I can do,” she tells him.

“Thank you Karen,” he says.

“I know,” she replies.

 

 


 

 

Matt puts his headphones on when Foggy gets to work so he can’t hear the conversation between him and Karen. He does hear when Foggy lets himself into Matt’s office and closes the door behind him.

Matt removes the headphones.

“I’m sorry,” he says immediately, right as Foggy tries to speak. “Shit. You go.”

“I was worried,” Foggy admits. “I hate having to worry. And I know that if you didn’t go out, I wouldn’t have to worry. But I also know that I can’t make you do anything, and that I shouldn’t, even if I really, desperately, want to.”

He pauses, shifting uncomfortably, but Matt knows he’s not finished.

“Karen told me you saved those girls. I can’t even begin to tell you how proud of you I am for that. I want to run around the streets telling everyone that my boyfriend was the one who saved those girls, and that he’s amazing and wonderful and deserves the world, but I obviously can’t do that.”

“Yeah please don’t,” Matt agrees.

“But I don’t want to go to sleep at night knowing that he’s out there fighting criminals, not knowing if he’ll come home safely. Not knowing if you’ll come home safely.”

“I know,” Matt says softly. “But I don’t know how to fix it.”

“I don’t know either,” Foggy admits. “But I want to figure it out.”

 

In between clients that afternoon, they work out a loose contract that specifies when Matt will do his Daredeviling, the circumstances under which he is absolutely not allowed to go out, and Foggy’s veto power.

 

They’re both pretty happy with it, and Matt doesn’t go out until the following weekend after there have been an alarming number of overdoses due to drug contamination. He gets home at 4:17am, covered in some sort of chemical intermediary, but with the drug production shut down for good.

Foggy is waiting up for him. That’s not part of the agreement, but he doesn’t seem to be willing, or even able, to sleep when Matt isn’t there.

Matt gets that.

 

 


 

 

He talks to Melvin about upgrades to his costume that would cushion his back and sides around his kidneys so that no one can get in a lucky shot again. It takes a bit to work out a balance between movement and armor, but Melvin is amazing at what he does, and Matt knows that even if he has to sacrifice some of his agility, it’s worth it.

Plus, that was one of the stipulations Foggy put into the contract.

Chapter Text

The dose of blood pressure medication is increased at his next appointment, but otherwise he is apparently in good health, considering. His doctor talks for a bit about dietary changes, keeping a low sodium diet, and Matt nods in all the correct places, not bothering to explain he already had a relatively healthy diet, and even if he didn’t, makes up for it with exercise.

 

His doctor gives him a few things to look out for, beyond the symptoms that Dr Nadiya told him about, like leg swelling that could indicate he’s retaining fluid.

“Not that you should be having those symptoms any time soon,” his doctor assured him. “Those are symptoms of later stages of kidney failure, and I believe last time you were assessed, were stage 1 or 2. I believe the procedure you had reduced the functional tissue of your right kidney a bit?”

Matt hadn’t known that. He shrugs.

“You should still have years before you reach end stage kidney failure, decades even,” his doctor assures him. “I just thought you needed to be aware.”

“Yes,” Matt agrees.

 

He tells Foggy about his doctor’s concerns and symptoms to look out for, but doesn’t tell him that he’s lost some of his kidney because of the procedure to save his life. It was his own fault, after all, and doesn’t want to have to face that fact, not again, not now that he knows the long term consequences.

 

 


 

 

They go on holiday that summer, out of New York. They give Karen two weeks off and rent a house in Virginia, near Accomac. They spend days at the beach and spend nights watching movies that Foggy narrates in increasingly ridiculous ways. They cook dinner together and nearly ruin the kitchen with their attempt at ratatouille, which Foggy declares was way oversold by that Disney movie. They order pizza that day instead.

 

Matt gets sunburnt on the very first day, which Foggy laughs at, but he’s burnt by the second day. They practically bathe in aloe and slather themselves in sunscreen and float in the ocean, which is still freezing. They have sex on the beach and end up with sand everywhere for days. Everywhere. At night Matt dreams of cool waves and ridiculous sun hats and sleeping under beach umbrellas, and when he wakes up it happens for real.

He’s never been happier.

 

 


 

 

That fall they win a few major cases that should keep the lights on for at least a year, and the publicity should keep them going long after that.

Matt kisses Foggy on the steps of the courthouse and doesn’t care who sees.

Chapter Text

That year is their first Christmas together as a couple, although certainly not their first Christmas they’ve spent together. In law school, Foggy took Matt home so he wouldn’t be alone. A lot of his relatives thought they were dating then, and they kept having to dispute it. Matt wonders what they'd think if they found out they were right, just early.

He thinks a lot of people knew before he and Foggy managed to get their shit together.

 

But this is their first Christmas as a couple, and of course, the best way to celebrate that is by going to midnight mass at Matt’s Catholic Church. Surely that couldn’t go wrong.

 

“I really don’t know what I’m doing,” Foggy mutters, pulling at his collar.

“I’ve been going to church for decades and even I don’t always know what I’m doing. You know they change things sometimes? I looked completely incompetent when I said ‘and also with you’ and everyone else said ‘and with your spirit’.”

Foggy grumbles.

 

They sit near the back, where Father Lantom had helpfully tucked braille copies of the program and readings. He didn’t always do that, but would if he knew Matt was coming. Just another on the long list of things that made him amazing.

 

Someone at the front of the church is playing Christmas carols and hymns with far more seriousness than they deserve. The church fills slowly, and Matt overhears snippets of conversations, some elderly people complaining about the pews, a few children whining about their clothes, some parents quietly discussing wrapping left to be done. By 11, the church is full, and the procession begins as the choir sings the opening hymn. The music swells and fills the church, and Matt closes his eyes and lets it fill him. He’s always loved the music.

 

Father Lantom does the opening prayer, and the readings and psalms go relatively quickly in order to keep the attention of the young children who are present. The gospel is the story of Jesus’ birth, which Father Lantom spices up a bit to interest the children, and then it’s onto the homily.

 

Father Lantom stands there for a moment at the altar, looking out at them.

 

“This season is a time for love,” he begins. “It is a season for many thing: family, joy, generosity, kindness. But perhaps the root of these is love, such as the love Mary had for her son, or the love God has for us, all of his children. The bible gives us so many examples of love. Ruth and Naomi, David and Jonathan, Jacob and his sons, Noah and his wife. Love, in so many forms. None of these forms of love is better or more important than another. The love we have for a partner is just as important as the love we have for a child, a friend, a family member. The love we have for God. The greatest and first commandment tells us ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,’ but it is the second commandment that I want to talk about, because I have no doubt that all of you love God with every part of you. ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’.” He pauses for a moment. “I think it is easier to love God, because He doesn’t have dogs that bark at night or mow His lawn onto your driveway.”

There are a few chuckles.

 

“Mother Teresa once mentioned a homeless woman who died. Her final words were thanks. Mother Teresa considered what she would have done in that same situation, and thought she would call attention to herself, ask for help. But this woman instead ‘gave me her grateful love’ and then died. In her Nobel prize acceptance speech, she explained what that meant to her. She said ‘And that is why we believe what Jesus had said: I was hungry I was naked I was homeless I was unwanted, unloved, uncared for and you did it to me.’ When we help anyone, we help everyone. Loving like this is finding God hidden in the other person, like the parable that Jesus taught about finding the treasure hidden in the field. God is within all of us.” 

Father Lantom pauses and shifts, looking back out at them.

“I once heard a story of a man who was so full of love that it spilled from him. Love was evident on his face, in the way he spoke, in his open arms. He was always willing to help whoever asked. If a friend needed to move, he was there to carry furniture. If a friend needed money, he would be there with no questions asked. He donated blood, he volunteered at soup kitchens, he fundraised for the church. He gave away his belongings to those less fortunate. In this story, the man gave so generously that all he was left with was his hands. But he was infinitely loved. Corinthians tells us the important of love over all material things. ‘If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.’ Who do you think of when you hear this story? I know many people who could be the man I’m describing. We could all be this person: arms empty of material things, but hearts full of love.”

Matt can hear the smile in his voice.

“‘So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.’ Love, in all of its forms, is always the greatest,” he finishes. “May your Christmas be filled with an overabundance of love, in all of its forms.”

 

Matt can’t help but feel that Father Lantom is speaking directly to him, but then, the man has that sort of effect on everyone.

 

Matt drags Foggy with him for communion. “Just cross your arms in front of your chest,” he whispers.

He and Foggy are led to Father Lantom, where he is given a host and takes a sip of the wine that’s frankly disgusting. Behind him, Foggy receives a blessing from Father Lantom. As he turns to go back to their pew, Matt trips over the rug that someone has thrown across the altar (despite it already being carpeted, honestly, there is no need for there to be a fringed carpet that is unanchored) and nearly falls on his face. Foggy catches him, and Matt clings to his arm more than is strictly necessary. One of the altar boys rushes over to make sure he’s okay, and Matt assures him that he is, but suggests maybe not having a tripping hazard where people are walking.

 

Matt doesn’t let go of Foggy’s arm as he leads them back to their pew.

“Thank you for saving me,” he whispers. “I’ll thank you for that later. I’m not kissing you in front of all these elderly parishioners, because I’m certain it’s a sin to kill people at Christmas, even if accidental.”

“I’m holding you to that,” Foggy whispers back.

 

There are more prayers, a final blessing, and then a hymn that accompanies their exit from the church. It is fittingly enough, Joy to the World. Matt doesn’t get up right away, just sits there for a bit longer letting the music and the happiness surround him. His best friend and partner is at his side. There isn’t much more he could want.

 

As soon as they’re outside the church and away from the throngs of people, Matt kisses Foggy hard and deep, under the eyes of God and the snow that has started softly falling.

Chapter Text

They sleep late on Christmas morning. Matt awakens first and starts breakfast, hoping the smell of food and coffee will lull Foggy towards consciousness. When the first waffle is in the waffle iron, Matt goes back to the bedroom, listening for a moment to Foggy’s quiet snoring, and then throws himself onto the bed, bouncing Foggy in the air and startling him awake.

“It’s Christmas!” Matt announces.

Foggy groans, but rolls over and props himself up a bit. “Ah, yes. How could I possibly forget.”

“Coffee is ready and waffles are cooking. There’s fruit sauce and whipped cream,” Matt tells him.

“Oh, I love you.”

“I’m a catch,” Matt agrees. “But I’m not bringing it to you in bed. It’s not your birthday.”

Foggy cocks an eyebrow at him. “Is that on the table for my birthday?”

“We’ll see,” he promises. “But for now…”

“I’m getting up.”

 

After breakfast there are presents. Matt spent a lot of time shopping, trying to find the perfect gift for Foggy, and instead, found a ton of small presents that were mostly based on inside jokes.

“Oh my god!” he squeals, opening the package of dinosaurs. “These are exactly the same as the ones we had at Landman and Zach, where did you find them?”

“It’s a secret,” Matt tells him. It was a toy store in Brooklyn. He also got Foggy a soft sweater, a tie with dinosaurs, a framed photo of the three of them after their first company baseball game (it went horribly, because there were only three of them, and at least two of them weren’t blind, but they knew going in it was going to be bad, and instead used it to have fun), a video game that Foggy had been talking about for months, and pyjamas, among other things. He wrapped half of Foggy’s presents inside out for the hell of it, because of a joke that had started in college when Foggy hadn’t known the extent of Matt’s abilities.

 

Matt receives the softest blanket he’s ever felt, and he spends half an hour just luxuriating in it, which Foggy seems to enjoy, but also wants Matt to keep opening his presents. Matt throws some wrapped sock at him to open instead, because he needs to feel this blanket with all of his body first.

The socks are mostly joke themed. Matt had managed to get a few different ones, including avocados, dinosaurs, spaceships, and Spider-Man. For whatever reason, Foggy loves that Spider kid. Matt hasn’t told him he’s a kid though, because that’s a whole thing he doesn’t need to unpack.

 

The next thing Matt opens, while wrapped in his new blanket, is a plush toy in a weird shape he can’t figure out.

“It’s a podocyte,” Foggy tells him smugly, pulling his new dinosaur socks up and admiring them. “A renal cell. Considering yours are shitty, I thought you could use a plush one, maybe have it around to threaten yours into working.”

Matt considers it. “I think my podocytes are okay individually.”

“It’s only one of the kinds of kidney cells, but the company doesn’t make the others, so.” Foggy shrugs.

“I love it,” he declares.

 

He also receive a mug that Foggy tells him says ‘world’s best lawyer’, which Matt can immediately tell is a lie, and eventually Foggy admits it says ‘world’s (second) best lawyer’, just to keep him humble.

Foggy hits him a minute later when he opens his present that is a mug that proclaims him the world’s best lawyer, and Matt beams.

 

They spend half an hour wadding up wrapping paper and tossing it into the garbage pail from across the room, and Matt wins, handily.

 

They cook dinner together and get a bit distracted, stealing kisses over the gravy. When Karen comes over, she doesn’t comment on the burnt gravy, just gives them a smug, knowing smile, and passes them their gifts.

 

 


 

 

They ring in the New Year together, sitting on Matt’s shitty couch that hasn’t been bled on recently. Karen brought champagne and ridiculous hats. They’d invited others, but they all declined, which was fine with Matt. He didn’t need more than these two people.

“To a better year!” Karen declares, holding out her glass after the ball drops.

“May the last one die and rot,” Foggy agrees.

Matt shrugs. “I’ve had worse.”

He can practically hear the audible eye rolling as they clink their champagne glasses together before downing them. It’s very bad champagne.

Chapter Text

In the middle of February, Matt breaks a rib while swooping in to rescue a young child from being hit by a car. The girl, who can’t be older than 2, screams as the car grazes Matt, and he bounces over the hood, tucking around her and rolling.

The girl’s mother is grabbing her from Matt almost immediately, thanking him profusely, and asking if he’s okay.

He takes a breath before answering, which is a mistake. He can hear the rib ends shift as his chest expands, and the pain must show on his face, because she asks if she can do anything for him.

He shakes his head. “Take care.”

She’s uncertain, but thanks him again, and he darts off into a nearby alleyway to clutch his chest and pray he doesn’t throw up.

 

“You’re so lucky Julia,” the mother tells her child, hugging her close. “You’ve got a guardian devil looking out for you.”

“Down!” the girl chirps.

“Not a chance,” the mother tells her.

 

Matt listens as they head on their way, the girl requesting to be put down every couple of feet, and her mother adamantly refusing. He manages not to throw up, but decides he’s done for the evening, and heads home to face Foggy.

 

 


 

 

“What was it this time?” Foggy asks, examining the developing bruises on the side of Matt’s chest. And now that he’s thinking about it, two of the ribs might be broken. It’s hard to differentiate the pain and sounds when it’s all so close together.

“Car.”

Foggy hums. “Heard that one before.”

“Yeah, but this time it’s true. Little girl ran into the street. I can guarantee she wouldn’t have gotten away with two rib fractures.”

“Two? I thought you said one.”

“I’m not an x-ray Foggy. I can’t actually be sure.”

“There’s gotta be a superhero with that power, right? It’s probably not helpful for like, fighting crime, but would be super cool if you were a doctor or something.”

Matt hums and tolerates Foggy’s prodding fingers.

 

Finally, satisfied he’s not hiding any other injuries, Foggy lovingly drapes a bag of frozen veggies, peas probably, over his side, and sinks into the couch next to him.

“What do you want to listen to?” he asks, pulling his laptop close and probably firing up Netflix.

“Nothing too funny. It hurts to laugh.”

“Got it.”

 

It turns out that crying is also very bad with broken ribs, which he hadn’t taken into consideration at the time, but he certainly knows that after Foggy puts on a movie starring Lee Pace and a young girl that makes him sob like a baby. Foggy cries too, but it doesn’t make Matt’s ribs feel any better to know he’s not crying alone.

 

 


 

 

He’s had both broken ribs and pneumonia enough times to know that one could lead to the other, and that having them at the same time was the worst, so he makes an effort to take deep breaths despite how much it hurts, and manages to make it to the spring without an infection settling in his lungs.

 

He does get a cold from Karen a month or so after the initial fracture, and the sneezing is almost enough to straight up kill him. He’s drugged to the eyeballs with cold meds and Karen apologizes profusely.

 

“Still not enough to make you want to give up Daredeviling for Lent, huh?” Foggy asks him, serving him chicken noodle soup in bed.

Matt sneezes at him, clutching his poor ribs as he does.

“I’ll take that as a no,” Foggy mutters as he liberally applies hand sanitizer to his entire body.

“Could give up sex for Lent,” Matt suggests when he catches his breath.

Foggy pops back in the room. “You know what, forget I said anything.”

 

 


 

 

For Lent, he tries to give up fighting, sticking to rescuing and defending people instead of going after their attackers, and it works for a while. But word spreads that Daredevil has gone soft, and he has to knock out a man who’s holding a knife to a woman’s throat.

 

He feels like God should be okay with that one.

 

 


 

 

“Would you stop if I asked you to?” Foggy whispers one night in bed.

Matt pretends to be asleep instead of answering, because the truth is, he doesn’t know.

He doesn’t want to have to choose between the two most important things in his life.

 

 

Chapter Text

After a week of being more exhausted than usual, and feeling like all of his muscles had been deflated, Foggy insists that Matt see a doctor, and he can’t help but agree.

 

He calls Dr Nadiya’s office and manages to get an appointment for the next day.

 

When he wakes up the next morning, he must have slept funny, because both of his feet have that annoying pins and needles feeling. Luckily it goes away by the time he’s showered and eaten.

 

Foggy wanted to come with him to the appointment, but Matt pointed out that someone needs to be at the office, so Foggy reluctantly gives him a kiss goodbye on the cheek and reminds him to tell the doctor everything that could be relevant.

Matt promises.

 

The wait isn’t long, and Matt is seated on a crinkly exam table with a blood pressure cuff around his arm before he can even think about falling asleep in the waiting room.

The nurse smiles at him and tells him his blood pressure is normal and his heart rate is great.

“Are you an athlete?” she asks him.

“Ah, sort of. I try to stay fit, although haven’t been doing much the last couple weeks.”

“I can tell,” she says. “Your resting heart rate is low. That’s a sign that your muscles and organs are good at using the blood they get.”

Matt nods, and answers a few more of her questions before she leaves.

No, his diet hasn’t changed. Yes, he’s still taking his medications as prescribed. No, he hasn’t experienced severe pain, blood in his urine, or recurrent headaches.

He’s just tired. And he doesn’t want it to be something that is his life now.

 

It’s another short wait after the nurse leaves. Dr Nadiya checks the notes the nurse made and sits down on a stool across from him.

“Been sleeping okay?” Dr Nadiya asks him.

Matt nods. “More than usual.”

“Has your partner noticed you snoring or periods where you stop breathing in your sleep?”

Matt considers it. “I don’t think so.”

“Have you had a fever at all in the past week?” she asks, sticking a thermometer in his ear.

“I haven’t checked, but I don’t think so,” he admits.

It beeps and she pulls it out and looks at it. “Normal range,” she tells him. She checks the notes the nurse made. “Nothing changed in terms of diet or medications?”

Matt shakes his head.

“Okay. This could be some sort of infection, probably viral, an electrolyte abnormality, or something to do with your sleep. There are other possibilities, but these are the easiest to rule out first, so they’re the ones I’m going to start with.” She pulls a new sheet of paper out of his chart. “I’m going to send you for bloodwork to check on a few different things. If you can, get the blood taken today, and the results should be back before the end of the week. That way we’ll know if it’s something we can address, or if we need to keep looking.”

She passes the sheet to Matt. “This is the requisition for bloodwork.”

He takes it and folds in into thirds to slip into his jacket.

“Do you have any questions?”

“If the bloodwork is normal, what’s the next step?”

“If you have snoring or any unusual breathing patterns during sleep, a sleep study would probably be next. But let’s see what the bloodwork shows us before going there, alright?”

Matt nods.

“Okay. If you have any questions, feel free to call the office,” she instructs him, getting to her feet.

“Thanks.”

“It’s no problem,” she tells him, and she’s gone.

 

He goes and gets his blood taken, and the wait for that is a bit longer, to the point where he almost falls asleep in the chair, except he’s startled awake by his phone vibrating in his pocket.

 

How’s everything going? [smiley face]

 

Matt smiles. Foggy, after realizing that Matt’s phone couldn’t always translate emoticons to what Foggy intended them to mean, instead wrote out what the face was supposed to mean. Now instead of being confused when he was send a crying face, Foggy clarified that it was [face crying with laughter].

 

Getting bloodwork done.

 

You coming into work after?

 

Yup.

 

Okay I will see you then. Karen is getting us sandwiches from that place you like around the corner. [heart]

 

Matt blushes a little bit, and shoves his phone back into his pocket when his name is called.

The bloodwork goes smoothly, and he’s in a cab by the time he realizes he never responded.

 

He just sends a heart back.

Chapter Text

He almost forgets about the blood tests for a few days. It’s midafternoon, and he and Foggy are the only ones in the office. Karen is out doing something she refused to tell them about, which they allowed because she first softened them up with homemade guacamole for lunch. He and Foggy were both weak when it came to food, and she damn well knew that.

He’s reviewing precedents for a new case when his phone rings.

 

“Matt Murdock,” he answers.

“Matthew, it’s Dr Nadiya. We got your bloodwork back. You need to go to the hospital immediately.”

Matt freezes. “What?”

“Your potassium level is very high, and that can be dangerous to your heart. Do you have someone who can drive you?”

“Um, no, my partner doesn’t have a car.”

“Can someone go with you to the hospital in a cab?”

Matt fumbles with his laptop, slamming it shut. “Uh probably.” He covers the phone with his hand. “Foggy!” he yells.

There’s a small crash from Foggy’s office and a few seconds pass before Foggy pokes his head into Matt’s office.

“What’s up?”

“We have to go to the hospital,” Matt tells him.

Foggy’s heart flip flops. Matt’s pretty sure his heart is the one that’s supposed to be doing that.

“Why?”

“My… potassium level is too high. Can you get a cab?”

Foggy nods, forgetting to tell Matt he is, and leaves the room.

Matt puts the phone back to his ear. “Okay, yeah, we’re going.”

“Good. I’m going to call ahead to the emergency department so they know you’re coming. If you feel palpitations, lightheadedness, or any worse, you need to call an ambulance immediately, okay?”

“Um, okay,” Matt agrees.

“I’m going to hang up now to call the emergency department. Is someone there with you?”

“He went to get a cab,” Matt says, feeling someone detached.

“Okay, so I’ll wait until he gets back. How are you doing otherwise?”

“I feel okay,” he manages.

“Still have the fatigue and weakness?”

“Well, yes, but it hasn’t gotten worse.”

“Your body has gotten used to the elevated level, so it’s not like it was a sudden change,” she tells him. “The level has probably been high for a while, but not at a symptomatic level.”

“I see,” Matt says. He’s lying, but this lie seems acceptable.

“Okay the cab is coming,” Foggy says, bursting back into the room. “You still good?”

Matt nods. “Okay, I’m hanging up now,” he tells Dr Nadiya.

“I’ll call the hospital,” she tells him, and the call ends.

 

Matt stands up. He thinks he might be shaking, although he doesn’t think it’s because of the blood thing, more of the shock of being told he needs to get to the hospital immediately because he could die otherwise.

Thankfully Foggy is more on top of things. He grabs Matt’s cane with one hand and with the other intertwines their fingers and squeezes.

“Come on,” he says gently.

He leads Matt out of the room and down the stairs. There is a cab awaiting, and Foggy directs it to Metro General.

 

“Did she say why this could be happening?” Foggy asks him.

Matt shakes his head. “I didn’t think to ask,” he admits.

Foggy squeezes his hand again. “No worries. I’m sure it was a big shock either way, so you could hardly be expected to get a full breakdown.”

Matt nods.

“You feeling okay?”

Matt shrugs. “Surprised, for sure.”

“I mean physically. You’re sweating.”

“It’s hot out.”

“It’s March.”

“March can be hot.”

“But it isn’t.” Foggy’s voice grows more desperate. “Please don’t lie to me. Are you feeling okay?”

“Dizzy maybe? I don’t know why I’m sweating,” he admits. “Stress?”

Foggy’s fingers extricate themselves from between Matt’s and find their way to his wrist instead.

“Your heartrate isn’t fast. It’s slow. Maybe even too slow?”

“I’m pretty much an athlete,” he mutters, but he’s starting to wonder if Foggy’s right. He does feel bad, a level of illness that can’t solely be due to the shock of being potentially ill, but rather the aforementioned illness rearing its ugly head.

“Hey,” Foggy says urgently, shaking him a little. “Stay awake. We’re almost there.”

“I am awake,” he says, but he thinks he might be lying.

 

The cab stops, and Foggy throws the driver some money, not stopping to wait for change. He drags Matt out, and now he’s definitely dizzy, his hearing fading out for a second as he stumbles to his feet.

“Oof,” he says, and at that Foggy seems to get alarmed. They’re barely through the door and he’s calling for help, and Matt is thankful when arms catch him, because the ground is rising up to meet him.

Chapter Text

He’s flat on his back with people over him, and he startles.

“Oh hey Mr Murdock, you’re alright. You passed out because your heart rate was so low. We’re giving you medication to help you now. Can you hold still for us?”

He does.

There are sticky things all over his chest and an IV taped to each of his arms, which is probably overkill. Surely one would have been enough?

 

“How’s the PR interval?”

“Prolonged, same with QRS. How much calcium has he had?”

“30mLs of 10%.”

“Okay give it another minute and repeat the dose.”

“Insulin and glucose are on board,” someone else announces, and that’s confusing. Matt’s not diabetic.

“Pushing second dose of calcium.”

Matt’s not sure why he needs calcium. Isn’t it his potassium that’s a mess? Shouldn’t they be doing something about that?

“He’s going to need a nephrology consult, can we get someone down here?”

“PR and QRS are shortening, and his heart rate is up to 68.”

“Excellent. Keep an eye on them in case the calcium starts to wear off before the insulin and glucose start doing their job, but hopefully he’ll be headed for dialysis by then.”

 

Dialysis.

Matt knows what that means. It’s what he’s been heading towards ever since he found out about his PKD. But he thought he had more time, years, decades even, not this pittance of months it’s been. Maybe it will be temporary, for him to get over whatever made his potassium levels rise, but he doesn’t think so. There’s somewhere deep inside him that feels this is just the beginning of the next part of his life, and he hates it.

 

“Mr Murdock how are you feeling?”

Matt blinks. “Less dizzy.” He gets the feeling that time has passed.

“Your heart rate is back to a normal number, which is why you’re feeling more awake. Because of the potassium, your heart was beating too slowly to get enough blood to your brain. We’ve given you medications to move the potassium around in your body, but they won’t help to get rid of it. For that you’re going to need dialysis. Has your nephrologist talked to you about that before?”

“Not really. I didn’t think it was going to be necessary for years.”

The person nods. “This could be a temporary measure. But even temporarily, you’re going to need vascular access. It’s a short procedure that can be done in a radiology suite. A tube will be placed into your upper chest near your collarbone, and this will be used for dialysis treatments. It’s not a long term solution though, because there is a higher risk of infection using this method.”

Matt nods.

“You have two options for longer term vascular access, and your nephrologist will talk to you about them later, but for right now, we need consent to do this procedure. I’m going to go through the consent form with you, and you can stop me if you have any questions, alright?”

Matt nods again.

 

It’s basic stuff really, going through the risks of the procedure, making sure he understands what it will entail. At the end he signs his name and hopes it is level.

 

Foggy is allowed to wait with him until the procedure, and he seems enormously relieved at the sight of Matt.

“No one would tell me how you were doing,” he breathes, holding Matt’s hand firmly. “You passed out and things moved pretty quickly. Your doctor called ahead I guess, so they knew you were coming. But they wouldn’t let me come with you or tell me what was going on, and I was worried,” he admits.

“I’m not too sure,” Matt frowns. “They gave me meds, a couple of different ones, some of them more than once, and I feel better now I guess? None of the meds fixed the problem though, so I’m going to need dialysis.”

Foggy grips Matt’s hand tighter, and Matt wonders if he even knows he’s doing it. “Dialysis?

“Could be temporary,” Matt tells him. “They need to put a catheter in my chest for it. It’s supposed to be temporary, although I don’t know if that means they think I won’t need dialysis for long, or if it’s just a holdover until something more long term can be done.”

“Jesus,” Foggy whispers.

Matt smirks at him.

Foggy swats him, but there’s no force behind it and it ends up feeling more like a pat on his shoulder.

 

“It’s supposed to be a relatively minor procedure,” Matt says finally. “No general anesthetic, just some sedation and a quick trip to radiology.”

“You’re going to be awake when they do it?”

“Sort of. I think it’s twilight sedation, so I won’t remember any of it? Honestly that’s all I care about.”

 

Foggy is quiet for a minute, but has something he wants to say. So Matt waits.

“You know that I love you, right?”

Matt blushes. “I’ve gotten that impression.”

“Like really love,” Foggy adds emphatically. “I’m gonna kiss you now to prove it.”

 

He does, and Matt kisses back, and they both lose some time in that because the next thing he knows they’re being interrupted by a nurse, and Foggy scoots back, embarrassed.

 

“It’s time for your procedure now,” she tells him, and Foggy gives him one last kiss.

“For luck,” he says.

“I feel God in this Chili’s tonight,” Matt replies, deadpan, and as the bed is being wheeled away, he hears Foggy silently laughing.

 

 


 

 

When he drifts back to awareness, slowly, like a boat eventually bumping up against shore, he’s already on dialysis. It’s loud, louder than he expected anyway, although part of that might be the sedation he’s feeling and the inability to filter any of his senses. The sheets are sandpaper beneath him and every time he shifts he can hear them crinkle.

“Hello Mr Murdock,” someone says. “I’m Laila, one of the nurses. You just had a procedure done. You feeling okay?”

“Yeah,” he says slowly.

“You’re having your first dialysis treatment, so be sure to let me know if you’re not feeling right, since it can be a sign we should stop it.”

 

He feels pretty fine. There’s a numb sensation near his collarbone, and he assumes that they froze the area before cutting into it or whatever they did, and a sense of weight around there, probably from the tubes connecting him to the dialysis machine.

 

He drifts off again, lulled to sleep by the rhythmic sounds of dialysis and the gentle pull of the remaining sedatives.

 

Chapter Text

When the dialysis is over, he’s moved to a different room. Dr Nadiya comes to visit him shortly after that.

“Hello Matt,” she says warmly. “Your blood tests are looking a lot better, but still not completely normalized. We’re going to keep you a few days and give you dialysis once a day until your potassium levels normalize. Hopefully this was a one time thing and will resolve itself, but if not, you will need to start on dialysis more long term, and there are other things to consider if that’s the case.”

Matt blinks the tears away that are threatening his eyes.

“Like what?” he asks.

“A more permanent vascular access. The catheter that you have in now will work short term, but because of a higher risk of infection, we generally use something called a fistula. It involves a procedure to connect an artery and vein, usually in your arm, and the increased blood flow makes the vein bigger and stronger so it can be used for dialysis. It has a much lower risk of infection than the catheter, because there’s no direct line into your body.”

It sounds awful. He might actually prefer this tube that’s in him now over what she’s describing.

She might notice the horrified look on his face, because she continues.

“There’s also peritoneal dialysis, which uses a membrane in your abdomen to indirectly remove waste instead of filtering your blood. It’s the same principle, and requires a tube that the fluid goes in and out of, but it’s easier to do at home and can be done as you sleep. As part of the dialysis team in the hospital, there is a nephrology social worker who will come talk to you about making these kinds of decisions for the care you’d like. They’ll be able to explain treatment options and the features of each. There’s also the possibility of a kidney transplant. There are a number of tests that would need to be done before you could be listed, but it’s a more long term solution. Still not a cure, since you can reject a donor kidney, but it’s certainly more sustainable, and is something else to think about.”

The pager on her hip beeps. “Okay, I’ve got to run, but I’ll be back for rounds tomorrow, and the social worker should check in on you some time later today, alright?”

She’s gone before Matt can answer.

 

When Foggy gets back from the cafeteria, he finds Matt angrily wiping at tears. He’s frustrated and disappointed with his body for failing him like this and angry. He wants to punch something, but he still feels weak and deflated and his hands won’t form into decent fists, which makes him even angrier, and it’s a spiral of frustration.

 

Foggy doesn’t make him talk about it, seems to sense that Matt can’t do talking right now, and instead inches into the bed next to Matt and just holds him.

 

 


 

 

The first person who stops in to see him isn’t actually the social worker, but a dietician. She introduces herself as Amaya, and pulls up the bedside chair. He still feels empty from the crying, but Foggy assured him that he looked fine.

“I’m going to start by going through your regular diet, and then go through what you can remember eating differently in the last week or so, and we’ll see if that could be what caused your high potassium level,” she chirps.

He’s a little embarrassed to have his entire diet on display like this, especially because too often it consists of take out from his two favourite restaurants, or some kind of simple dish he’s whipped up at home.

Amaya doesn’t seem to be judging him though. “So it looks like you have a relatively good diet. A lot of people tend to eat too much meat, and you certainly don’t. You could probably use another serving of veggies per day, something green and leafy would be best, but we can come up with a plan later. Now I want to go through the last week, as much as you remember, and what, if anything, about it was different.”

 

The thing is, he can’t remember anything that was different. “Foggy, do you know?” he asks.

“Um… we went out for dinner last Friday,” he offers.

“Yeah, but it’s the same place we get takeout from.”

“Karen made us lunch yesterday?”

“Oh, that’s true.”

“What did she make for you?”

“It was guacamole and nachos. She was bribing us for an afternoon off,” Matt tells her.

Amaya hums. “Avocados can be very high in potassium. It could have been the final thing to push your levels up, since you seemed to be relatively stable before this incident.”

Surely, that must be some sort of dramatic irony. Avocados being his downfall.

He pointedly does not look in Foggy’s direction.

Chapter Text

The social worker arrives sometime after dinner that night.  Matt doesn’t know what time it is, because the hospital is a void of normal routines. He just knows he’d been given something that was referred to as ‘dinner’, which was a terrible and disgusting lie, and he ignored. Foggy is home for the night, so Matt is alone when the social worker arrives.

 

Like Amaya did earlier in the day, they pull up a chair and introduce themselves as Taylor.

“I’m one of the social workers on the renal team here at the hospital. I know you’ve recently started dialysis, and your doctor is hoping it’s only a temporary necessity, but in case it’s not, I’m going to discuss some of your options with you,” Taylor says. “I understand you were diagnosed with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease about a year and a half ago?”

Matt nods.

“And you’ve been relatively healthy since then, correct?”

“Uh, yeah. I did rupture one of the cysts about a year ago, and they originally tried to treat it with fluid and meds, but I ended up needing a procedure to get the bleeding to stop. Dr Nadiya also started me on blood pressure medication when I was diagnosed, and I’ve been taking that since.”

“How did the rupture happen?” Taylor asks, making a note.

“I slipped down the stairs and managed to hit my back on one of the steps. I was told the bruise was pretty impressive.”

“And can you describe the events that led up to this hospital stay?”

“Well, I guess I’ve been feeling extra tired for a few weeks, with muscle weakness, and Foggy insisted I make a doctor’s appointment.”

“Who’s Foggy?” they interrupt.

“My business partner, and… well, partner.”

Taylor nods. “Sorry for interrupting. Please keep going.”

“Dr Nadiya wanted to start with blood tests before we did anything else, so I got blood drawn, and sort of forgot about it until yesterday, when she called and told me I needed to come to the hospital. I saw the nutritionist today, and she thinks that I could have had a slowly increasing potassium level over the course of a month or so, but my meal yesterday pushed me over into more severe symptoms.”

“Which is why you were started on dialysis,” Taylor confirms.

“Hopefully as a temporary measure, and the potassium issue can be managed with diet or medication or something, I’m not too sure on the details.”

“Both of those are definitely an option, but I think your doctor also wants to check on your kidney function with some blood tests and likely another ultrasound to check on the size of the cysts. That will inform her decision about possibly continuing with dialysis, and on what kind of schedule. Has someone spoken with you about different vascular access options?”

Matt nods. “I didn’t like the sound of any of them.”

Taylor laughs. “You’re not the first person to say that to me. I understand that the central catheter seems like a temporary measure, like this whole thing can still go away. A fistula in your arm seems permanent, doesn’t it?”

Matt nods but doesn’t say anything.

“And you’re right. It is long term. But there is a much reduced risk of infection compared to the catheter. There is also peritoneal dialysis. Has anyone spoken to you about that?”

“It uses my stomach?”

“Yes. It requires a small procedure to insert a tube, but that kind can more easily be done at home during the night. There is also the risk of infection.”

“What about a transplant?” Matt asks.

Taylor pauses for a moment. “A transplant is an option, yes. I’m not sure if you’re aware, but cysts wouldn’t grow in a new kidney. It’s a long process to get approved and screened to be put on a transplant list, and can also be a long wait for a match, but you’re young and otherwise healthy, and would likely do well with a kidney.”

“I would definitely like to start on that, if I do need dialysis for longer term,” he says.

Taylor makes another note. “If that’s what your doctor recommends, I can get more information for you and we can start that process.”

Matt nods. “Yeah, even if she doesn’t recommend dialysis, I’d like to have some information about transplant.”

“Okay, and what format is best for you?”

“Braille is best, but I know that’s not always doable, so print is fine, because Foggy will read it to me.”

Taylor hums. “I’ll see what I can do. I know a lot of the available things we have are in the form of pamphlets, which I assume don’t transfer well to braille?”

“No, not really,” Matt admits. “Foggy read the pamphlets to me after I was first diagnosed, because the app on my phone couldn’t parse them.”

Taylor makes another note. “I’ll keep that in mind.” They pause. “Do you have any questions for me? I know that this can be a lot at once, so I’ll be back to talk to you tomorrow.”

Matt is sure he must. He’s sure that before Taylor got there, he had a list of 30 questions bouncing around in his head, but now that they’re sitting there and looking at him, his mind is empty.

“Not right now,” he admits.

“That’s fine. If you want to keep a list of them, maybe as a voice memo on your phone, I’d be happy to answer questions at any time. I know that this can be overwhelming, and no one expects you to be on top of this right away.”

Matt nods. “Thank you.”

“No problem,” Taylor tells him. “Are you alright if I place my hand on you?”

“Oh. Sure.”

Taylor puts a hand on Matt’s arm. “You’re doing great. I know this is a lot at once, but you’re young, and you’re strong, and it sounds like you have a great partner.” They remove their hand. “I’ll be back tomorrow, hopefully earlier in the day.”

Matt nods. “Thank you for the information, and also being so considerate.”

They’re smiling, Matt can tell.

“No problem.”

 

Chapter Text

Two days later, Taylor brings Lucille to speak to him. She’s an older woman, maybe in her sixties, and everything about her seems soft.

 

His blood work has come back, and the ultrasound results are in. His kidney function is shit, technically speaking. Dr Nadiya had sat down with him, Foggy, and Taylor the day before, and went through his options. He needs dialysis on a permanent, ongoing basis. Matt was understandably overwhelmed, which was why Taylor offered to get someone to speak with him. Foggy thought it was a great idea. Matt was still on the fence.

 

“Matt, this is Lucille,” Taylor says. “Lucille, this is Matt. He just found out he’s going to need long term dialysis, and is understandably a bit apprehensive. I thought you two could have a chat and answer any of his questions, from the perspective of someone who has been there.”

Taylor pulls up a chair for Lucille, who sits, but Taylor remains standing.

“I’m not going to hover over you, but I will be back in a bit to see how you’re doing,” they say, before excusing themselves, leaving Matt and Lucille alone.

 

“Hi Matt,” Lucille says. Her voice is soft. “It’s nice to meet you.”

“Yeah, nice to meet you too.”

 

They’re both quiet for a minute. Two floors down, someone dies. A baby is born in an operating theatre. He takes a deep breath.

“How long have you been having dialysis for?” he asks.

“Oh, about six years now. But I knew it was coming before I started. I take it this is more of a surprise for you?” she guesses.

Matt nods.

“And so young too,” Lucille says sympathetically. “At least I can blame mine on an old failing body and not taking care of myself. I don’t think you can say the same.”

Matt shakes his head. “Nah, just bad genetics. PKD.”

“That’s common in families, isn’t it? Is there anyone else you can talk to about this?”

“No. No one else. If someone in my family had it, they died before the symptoms could present.” He shrugs.

“Oh dear,” she says.

“What option did you choose for vascular access?” he asks, because he doesn’t want to hear her apologies for not knowing about his loss.

“I have an arteriovenous fistula in my arm. Because I knew that I would need dialysis, we were able to do the procedure ahead of time, so that it was ready when I started. You know that it takes it a while to develop, right?”

Matt nods.

“And I’m guessing you don’t have one?”

“No. I’ve got a central catheter they’re using for now, but they want to create one. It sounds horrifying,” he admits.

“Well,” Lucille says. “I’m not going to tell you it’s not strange, because it is. And it took me a while to get used to it being there. But I know that it’s just like they tell you, it’s a lifeline. I have to take care of it like one, and I do, because I know how important it is.”

“Can I-” he hesitates.

“What dear?”

“Can I feel it?” he asks.

“Oh,” she says. “I suppose so.”

She unbuttons the sleeve of her blouse and rolls it up, presenting her arm to him. He reaches out carefully, ghosting along her hand first, and feeling up her forearm. He feels the pulse before he reaches it, a bulge in her skin. He’s terrified of hurting her somehow, and can feel the scarred insertions sites like braille on her skin.

“It takes a while to get used to the pulse. But now I have nightmares where it’s gone. I use my stethoscope to make sure it sounds the same every day. It’s funny how you can tell tiny differences and what they mean to you.”

“Does it hurt?” he asks.

“Oh no dear. You’re fine.”

“Does it hurt when they put the needles in?” he corrects.

“Oh, not really. You felt the spots that are kind of raised?” She guides his fingers back to them, rounded areas with inverted braille A’s. “That’s where the needles go in. They’ve gone in so many times that it doesn’t hurt anymore.”

 

He pulls his hand back, and she lets him.

“So you never had the central catheter?” he asks.

She shakes her head. “No.”

“I just…” he starts, but can’t seem to find the words to finish. “I can’t wrap my head around it being a part of me, you know? I think that every time I felt it, it wouldn’t feel like me. I think that would scare me,” he admits. It’s not exactly what he wants to say, but it’s as close as he can get, grabbing at the assorted words, hoping that it makes sense.

“Listen Matt. I know that Taylor brought me in here to try and convince you that a fistula is the way to go, and it is safer. But there’s a lot happening to you right now, and if getting the fistula is too much on top of the other things, then don’t. Wait. Stick with the catheter for now, figure out dialysis, and if you need to, get the fistula in a month or so. If you get it now, or later, it’s still not going to be ready for use for a while. And if that gives you the time you need to figure things out, then it’s the right choice for you, okay?”

 

Matt tears up. “You’re the first person to tell me that,” he manages. “Taylor is very nice, but is definitely pushing for the fistula, and so are my doctors, and even my partner thinks it’s the best option, but there’s so much going on right now and I can’t do all of it.”

Lucille hums. “I’m going to hug you now dear, okay?”

She waits for him to nod before wrapping her arms around him, and as if giving him permission, he starts to sob.

 

They stay that way for a while until Matt gets embarrassed and tries to apologize multiple times, which Lucille ignores.

“You’re not the first boy to cry on my shoulder. I’ve raised three children,” she tells him. “Tears cleanse the soul. Don’t ever apologize for that.”

 

 

Chapter Text

His labs are normalized enough by the next morning that he’s allowed to go home. He has a large list of instructions about his diet, fluid intake, and how to take care of the catheter in his chest, and an appointment for dialysis in two days. His kidneys are still functioning, just barely, so they were going to start out with dialysis twice a week, and see if that was sufficient. Lucille told Matt that she had dialysis three times a week, which tends to be common for most people with end stage renal disease.

 

When they get home, Matt only intended to sit down on the couch for a few minutes, but instead he wakes up much later in the day to the smell of some sort of tomato sauce on the stove.

 

“Shit,” he says, stumbling into the kitchen. “I didn’t mean to fall asleep. You should have woken me.”

“Nah, you were all cute and snuggly on the couch with your socks pulled over top of the cuffs of your sweatpants. You know I can’t resist that shit.”

“It keeps them from riding up and my ankles getting cold, you know that,” he protests.

“Yeah, but knowing why you do it doesn’t make it any less cute,” Foggy replies, turning off one of the stove burners.

“Still,” Matt mutters.

“I know you don’t sleep well in the hospital, as if anyone could, and I wanted to let you catch up on your rest.”

“You’re too good to me,” Matt tells him, and gives him a kiss as a thank you.

 

The pasta sauce burns a bit while they’re distracted, but they don’t mind very much.

 

After they eat, Foggy is washing up dishes, which Matt argued about and lost, somehow, and he’s sitting at the kitchen table with a heavy weight in his stomach that has nothing to do with the massive amount of pasta he’d just eaten.

 

“I’m done Foggy,” he says softly.

In the kitchen, Foggy freezes. “What?”

“I’m done,” Matt repeats. “You asked me a while ago if I would stop if you asked me to, and I didn’t answer you then, but I am now. I’m finished.”

Foggy carefully sets down the dish he’s half-finished washing and comes to sit at the table. He rests his hands on top of Matt’s.

“Why now?” he says finally.

Matt chokes out a laugh. “Because I’m exhausted. Because I’ve got a catheter that leads into a main vein in my chest. Because I need dialysis twice a week and that requires blood thinners, and the amount of bruises I’ll get if I continue to go out as Daredevil will be impossible to explain away. Because I should have stopped when I was diagnosed, when I was told that contact sports were too dangerous, and certainly after I had a cyst rupture. Because you’re right. You’re always right, and I hate that sometimes,” he admits.

“Oh buddy. I know.” He puts one of his hands on Matt’s cheek. “I can’t imagine how difficult this decision must have been for you.”

“I didn’t want to tell you I was thinking about it, because I knew what you’d say,” he admits.

“Yeah, I’m definitely biased, but I hope you realize that’s only cause I love you. Like, loads.”

Matt smiles. “Yeah, I know.”

Foggy holds both of Matt’s cheeks and gives him a kiss on the forehead before going back to the sink to finish washing the dishes. It’s quiet except for the sound of running water for a few minutes before Foggy seems to realize something.

“I knew you weren’t fucking sleeping when I asked you that,” he grumbles.

Matt only smirks.

 

 


 

 

Twice a week he goes for dialysis. It’s not bad, really. He can take his computer and work while he’s there, since his line is in his chest and not his arm like many of the other people. He gets to know a few of the dialysis nurses, has some he likes better than others.

His favourite is probably Edith. Matt has no clue how old she is, since she’s spoken about children before, but never any specified age or grade, and almost seemed like she has children ranging in age from grade school to university, based on the stories. One week a child will be in desperate need of a costume for a school play, the next week Edith is complaining about how math in schools these days is way beyond her comprehension. Matt isn’t even sure if she has more than one child. But she’s always kind to him, and describes what she’s doing so nothing is a surprise.

 

After everything is set up, it’s a few hours of sitting there waiting for it to be done. Usually he gets work done, but sometimes he sleeps. He feels like he’s failed on those days, since he’s barely keeping up with his half of the workload. Foggy always tells him it’s fine, that it’s not his fault, and Matt knows that logically, but still can’t help but feel like he’s letting Foggy down.

 

He tells Edith this one day after asking if she can make sure he’s awake.

“I just want to pull my weight,” he explains.

“Oh hon. It sounds like you are. Your boy knows that you’re doing your best. In fact, I bet he wishes he could do more for you.”

Matt doesn’t get it. “But he does so much at work and at home. All I do is come and sit here for four hours twice a week like it’s a vacation.”

She tuts at him. “Believe me, this is no vacation. It’s hard on a body having this done. It’s hard on the spirit too, to come sit in these chairs for so many hours a week. A lot of people feel tethered to these machines, and both loathe and appreciate them.”

Matt sighs. “Yeah,” he agrees. “I guess so.”

“Have you tried talking with him about it?”

“Probably not enough,” he admits. “It’s hard.”

She nods, pulling her gloves off. “It is. I’ve been married almost twenty years and it hasn’t gotten easier. But now I know how important it is to talk about these things.”

Someone calls her name, and she places a hand on his shoulder before leaving.

“Promise me you’ll try?”

“Yeah,” Matt agrees.

 

Despite his efforts to stay awake and focus, he does doze off. When he wakes, the treatment is over and a different nurse is unhooking him from the machine.

Matt buries the guilt instead of letting himself wallow in it, which is probably a good first step. Even better would be addressing it, but he didn’t give Edith a time frame for when he would, which really, was her own fault.

He is a lawyer after all.

Chapter Text

One of those first weeks of dialysis, Matt hears a scream as he’s trying to fall asleep. He sits upright in bed, startling Foggy.

“What’swrong?” he mumbles.

“Nothing, I just… heard something.”

Foggy hums and pats him on the shoulder. “Ghosts,” he says sagely.

Matt resists the urge to roll his eyes. “Something outside. A scream.”

That gets Foggy’s attention. “Oh?”

“I don’t know what to do,” he says, realizing he’s at a loss. Normally, he’d put on the Daredevil suit and go find out who screamed, help them if necessary. But he can’t do that now.

“Can you tell what’s happening?”

Matt focuses, tunes out the humming of the billboard across the street, the pipes rattling as they heat up to bring hot water to his neighbours, the car engines and hushed conversations and dozens of televisions all playing different channels.

He hears crying.

 

“So what do you think you should do?” Foggy asks after Matt relays this.

“I don’t know. I can’t do nothing.”

“Police?”

Matt shakes his head. “And tell them what? Tell them to go where?”

“Do you know anyone else you could call and have check it out? What about glowy fist dude?”

“Danny,” Matt corrects.

“Yeah. Call Danny.”

It’s not the worst option.

 

The phone rings twice before Danny answers, and Matt gives him instructions in short clipped sentences, approximating the address as best he can.

“Sure man, no problem,” Danny says, disgustingly chipper.

Matt hangs up without responding, which is probably rude. He crawls back into bed and settles behind Foggy, feeling his breathing slow. Instead of the noise outside the apartment, he focuses on Foggy’s heartbeat. It’s familiar and reassuring.

 

“I think it would be easier if I couldn’t hear them all,” Matt whispers into Foggy’s shoulder. Foggy doesn’t say anything, but he’s not asleep. Matt can tell. It’s okay that he doesn’t know how to respond. Just listening is enough.

 

 


 

 

Danny seems to think that Matt calling him meant they were friends, and calls repeatedly over the next few weeks to invite Matt out to dinner with him. When Matt declines, saying he’d prefer to stay home with his partner, Danny seems ecstatic about that.

“Bring them!” he chirps. “We can have a double date. Colleen says we don’t go out enough.”

Matt can’t think of a good enough reason not to, and reluctantly agrees.

 

Danny is kind enough to at least ask Matt what restaurant they’d prefer, and Matt gives him the name of one in Midtown that uses mostly organic ingredients and strict hygiene practices. Matt could tell horror stories about some restaurants, which Foggy refuses to listen to unless it will genuinely impact his health, which is a fine line for Matt to walk.

 

Matt and Foggy are arriving at the restaurant when Matt realizes he never told Danny who his partner was, and hopes it won’t be a big deal. He could never predict with Danny.

 

“Matt, over here!” Danny calls, waving at him.

Colleen sighs. “He can’t see you waving,” she tells him.

“Oh. Right.”

Well, at least he hasn’t outed Matt as Daredevil already, so there’s that.

“We could still leave,” Matt whispers to Foggy as he leads him across the restaurant. “Make up some excuse. Some kind of emergency.”

“Nope,” Foggy tells him. “I’m going to enjoy this, and you’re not allowed to ruin it for me.”

Matt holds back the groan, only because they’re at the table as there’s no way to hide it from Danny and Colleen without having to explain.

 

“Hi Matt,” Danny says, chipper as ever.

“Hey Danny. This is Foggy.”

Danny jumps to his feet and shakes Foggy’s hand enthusiastically. “It’s nice to meet you. Is that your real name?”

“Nope, but it’s the one everyone uses except for my mother.”

“I was kind of surprised to find out Matt was dating anyone. He didn’t seem the type, you know?”

“Danny,” Colleen hisses. “God, let them sit down before you start saying those sorts of things.”

Foggy holds back a snicker as they take their seats.

“Foggy, this is Danny and Colleen,” Matt says, ignoring Danny’s recent comment, and hoping everyone else will do the same.

There’s a brief second where he thinks Foggy is going to respond, and he’s getting ready to kick him when a waiter comes by.

 

“Hello, I’m Claudia, I’m going to be your server today. Today’s special is eggplant parmesan and the soup of the day is minestrone. I’ll give you a minute to look at the menu and be right back to take your drink orders.”

 

Danny frowns, and Matt swears he can hear him thinking.

“You can’t read that.”

“It’s fine Danny. I’m going to get the same thing I always get when we come here,” Matt reassures him.

Just as Danny opens his mouth, probably to protest, Foggy cuts him off.

 

“How did you two meet?” he asks.

“Oh, she gave me money when I was homeless and living in the park.”

Foggy blinks a couple times. “Oh. That was nice of her.”

Danny nods, apparently oblivious to Foggy’s cluelessness at how to respond, and instead starts talking about music, which is thankfully a topic Matt can participate in.

 

They order, and continue chatting while they wait for their food. It’s not as bad as Matt expected, considering how Danny is as a person, and it seems like Colleen is a good influence on him.

 

“How long have you two been dating?” Colleen asks at one point, and they both have to stop and think about it.

“Over a year now?”

“Yeah, I think we missed our anniversary. Whoops.”

“To be fair it’s also an anniversary of a not great time, and we were pretty busy this year, so I think it’s fair.”

Foggy nods in agreement. “I feel like we should figure it out though, for future reference.”

Matt smiles at him, and holds his hand on top of the table, and neither of them even really mind that Danny practically melts at that.

 

As Matt predicted, Danny insists on paying for dinner, and also leaves a very substantial tip, based on the reaction of the server. If Matt had the kind of money Danny does, he’d leave massive tips too. As it is, he and Foggy make enough to live comfortably and also give yearly donations to a few different charities. And despite their insurance, the medical bills still take up a large portion of money that they would otherwise have for such expenses. Matt also feels guilty about that, because he feels guilty about most things, but he and Foggy have had too many conversations about money to beat that dead horse anymore.

 

Danny also offers to have his car drop them off, but since they’re only a few blocks away from their apartment, Matt and Foggy decline. They walk home hand in hand, Foggy’s head on Matt’s shoulder, trying to identify stars and constellations through the smog and light pollution.

Chapter Text

He’s at home doing some reading while Foggy is at a bar with a friend from high school. He was invited, but declined, because the combination of alcohol and unrestricted fluid intake was not ideal. He’s trying to stay focused on the paragraph detailing a description of a sunset, which is both overdone and unnecessary, when he hears crying.

It’s not unusual; he hears crying a lot. Families live in the buildings around him, and there is even one family with a girl around 7 living in his building. The thing is that this crying doesn’t stop. He reads the paragraph about the sunset half a dozen times and the crying continues.

 

He decides to go for a walk.

 

He doesn’t bring his cane, but instead a piece of dark fabric he had tucked away from his earlier Daredevil days. It will do to cover his face if he decides there’s something he needs to do. He doesn’t plan to do anything, he just likes having the option.

He heads in the direction of the crying.

 

He circles around a few nearby buildings before he finds the one where the noise is coming from. It’s still going, which means this person has been crying for about 20 minutes, which seems like a lot to Matt. Does dehydration play a role in how long crying can last? If he cried a lot, would he have to take that into account for fluid balance? He’s busy thinking about that and focusing on the crying, so he misses the approach of two men until they’re pretty much surrounding him.

“Wallet,” the one demands, and Matt stifles a groan. He didn’t even bring his cane, so it’s not like they’re picking on what they think is an easy target.

Of course, he also didn’t bring his wallet, just left through the rooftop access, which is mostly unlocked.

“Don’t have one,” he says, holding his arms out as if inviting them to search him.

“Phone,” the other one demands.

He left that at home too.

He shakes his head.

“For fuck’s sake,” the first one mutters. “Can’t make this easy, can you.” He gestures for the other man to search Matt, and as he gets close, Matt prepares to grab the man, flip him over, and shove him into his friend, allowing him to escape.

 

It all goes very sideways, very fast.

 

Instead of grabbing the man and flipping him, the man seems to know what he’s doing and avoids it. He comes in, fists ready, and catches Matt in the chest, not far from his vascular access. Which. Fuck. He didn’t consider that. His nephrologist’s voice echoes in his head emphasizing the importance of keeping his vascular access safe.

The shock and panic of that is enough to throw him off, added to that, he hasn’t been working out regularly or going out and fighting, and he’s woefully unprepared for this confrontation.

He ends up on the ground, curled protectively around his chest, which leaves his back exposed, which he realizes is a terrible idea as well.

He shifts so that his kidneys are protected as much as they can be while the men assault him. There are kicks to his ribs and punches to his head. He dodges them and redirects them as best he can, but he still takes a few brutal hits that leave his head ringing and body aching.

 

Eventually the men seem to realize he was telling the truth, and doesn’t have anything worth stealing.

“Fuck,” the one spits.

“Come on,” the other one urges. “He’s done.”

 

It’s the truth, Matt reflects, as they turn away and disappear into the evening. This is the final proof he needs to show he is done being Daredevil. He can’t do it anymore.

He sits with the weight of that for a minute, catching his breath and cataloguing his injuries.

Then he slowly gets to his feet, reassessing the damage. His line seems okay, and there’s none of the blinding pain that came the last time he ruptured a cyst, so he figures he got off relatively easy.

 

He limps home, hoping that Foggy will still be out for a while and he has time to get cleaned up and maybe hide the evidence of this assault.

 

He can still hear the crying.

Chapter Text

“What the hell happened to you?” Foggy demands, suddenly more sober than he was a second ago.

 

Matt’s hunched on the couch, an ice pack on his side, hoping that the dark would hide the developing bruise on his cheek.

 

Matt mumbles something without any words, which only prompts Foggy to move closer and sit on the table next to the couch.

“Try again.”

“I went for a walk.”

“And fell off a cliff?”

The truth is actually more embarrassing, and Matt hates to admit it.

“Got mugged.”

“Really?” Foggy sounds incredulous. And Matt’s not surprised, because he’s used it as an excuse before when it wasn’t true, so the fact that it is true now may not be believed. A case of crying wolf.

“Didn’t have my wallet or phone, which I guess they didn’t like, so…” He shrugs and immediately winces.

Foggy softens. “Let me see,” he urges.

 

Matt managed to get his sweater off before Foggy got home, which involved a lot of muffled groans and whispered swears, because raising his arms above his chest did not go well with bruised ribs. He’s still wearing his shirt though, and he doesn’t think he can get it off without help.

 

“Can you?...” he asks. He wiggles a little on the couch and drops the ice pack.

“Yeah, c’mere.” Foggy carefully peels the shirt off of Matt and over his head without requiring his arms to move much. It still hurts though.

Foggy tosses it onto the ground and takes that opportunity to get a look at Matt’s side. He knows there’s probably a boot mark, or some sort of foot print in his side.

“Shit,” he whispers. His hands move upwards to check Matt’s line, which he already unbandaged and re-covered after ensuring it wasn’t bleeding or been somehow disturbed. But Matt allows this, because he knows Foggy needs it.

“And your back?” he asks, after pressing the gauze back down.

Matt shakes his head. “Mostly just the ribs.”

“And the face,” Foggy adds, drawing his fingers down the developing bruise on Matt’s cheek. “Were you really mugged?” he asks softly.

“Yeah.” He swallows. “I went for a walk because I heard crying. I didn’t know what I was going to do, maybe nothing, but I still went out because of it, and I don’t want to hide that from you.”

 

The crying had stopped while Matt was struggling to remove his sweater.

 

Foggy traces from the bruise down Matt’s jaw until he’s holding his chin in his hand.

“Promise?” he asks.

“Promise,” Matt says. “And really, it showed me that I can’t do this anymore. I tried to fight back, and failed. I’m done, and this only demonstrates that,” he adds, gesturing to his bruises.

“Anything broken?” Foggy asks, not letting go of Matt’s face.

“Nope. Just bruised.”

“Good,” Foggy says, and leans in to kiss him gently, tenderly, as if touching him with such reverence would undo the violent injuries.

It doesn’t, but it does help him forget.

 

 


 

 

Foggy helps him smear concealer on his face the next day before he heads to dialysis, since he doesn’t want to have to explain that to Edith. If she notices, she doesn’t comment.

(She probably notices. The blood thinners that are part of dialysis means the bruising expanded across half of his face, and Foggy is definitely not that good with makeup. The bruises on his chest expand almost halfway around, and Foggy claims there’s an almost perfect shoe imprint on his thigh, which Matt does not believe.)

 


 

It takes over a week for the bruising on his face to fade to the point where Foggy doesn’t smear makeup on him before they leave the apartment.

(Karen recommended a different shade, but didn’t say anything else.)

 

His ribs ache for longer, and he’s almost thankful for it, because it means when he hears screams or cries or calls for help, all he has to do is take a deep breath, and he’s reminded why it’s not a good idea.

 

It’s almost fitting that the only reminder that works is pain.

Chapter Text

A couple months after Matt starts dialysis, he wakes up and immediately wishes he was still asleep. At first he thinks he might have gotten yesterday’s fluid intake wrong, since it is a dialysis day, but he doesn’t feel like he’s retaining fluid. He just feels awful.

 

“C’mon Matty, we’ve got a meeting at 10, and you’re going to need to get up soon if you want to shower before we leave.” Foggy pops his head into the bedroom. “Also I need your help deciding which tie and sock combo to wear today.”

 

“I think I’m sick,” Matt says into the pillow.

“Yeah, sorry, I don’t speak muffled Matthew.”

Matt expends an enormous amount of effort to shift his head sideways a bit. “I think I’m sick.”

There’s a cool hand on his forehead.

“I’ll get the thermometer,” Foggy agrees.

 

“102.3,” Foggy says. “That’s pretty high.”

Matt hums. He thinks it might be. He also thinks if he goes back to sleep everything might get resolved, and he likes that idea.

“You have a sore throat or anything?” Foggy asks, placing his hand on Matt’s forehead again.

“Mm mm,” Matt hums.

“Headache?”

Matt shakes his head.

“What about the dialysis catheter?”

He raises his eyebrows and shrugs.

Foggy sighs. “Okay, well I’m gonna check it if you’re not being more helpful.”

Matt wiggles around in the bed a bit in an attempt to help Foggy, but he ends up just getting tangled in the sheets.

“Help,” he whines.

Foggy sighs, but untangles the sheets, flipping Matt over and pulling the collar of his shirt down. Since he’s not immunocompromised, and the initial wound has healed, he’s been downgraded to a simple taped dressing.

“Okay, it looks… not great,” Foggy admits. “The area around the dressing is red, and I bet the area itself is red. Warm too, but I’m not gonna touch it in case that makes it worse.”

Matt hums.

“Matt. It’s probably infected. What are we supposed to do for this?”

“Probably a pamphlet,” Matt mumbles.

 

Foggy disappears into the living room, and Matt wiggles into a semi sitting position to start peeling off the dressing. Foggy’s right, it’s warm, and as he unsticks the dressing, it hurts. It’s not supposed to do that.

 

“Okay that’s definitely infected,” Foggy says, scurrying back into the room. “There’s… goo? I don’t know the technical term.”

“Shit,” Matt says. He’s trying to remember all the rules and guidelines for catheter infections, but they’re slipping through his mind without letting him grab hold. Thankfully Foggy’s brain is less fevered.

“ER time,” he asserts.

“ER time,” Matt agrees, sighing heavily, but bending down to put his socks on.

 

 


 

 

Someone is groaning. It might be him, based on the pain in his chest. He’s lying on scratchy plastic sheets, which means he’s in the hospital.

 

“Hey bud,” Foggy says.

“Why does my chest hurt?” he manages.

“That would be from the CPR,” Foggy tells him.

“Huh.”

“An infection caused your potassium levels to go up again, and your heart did another funky thing,” Foggy continues. He’s emotional, Matt can tell that much, but is having a hard time pinning any more information down. “We were in the ER waiting to be seen for the infection when you passed out. Apparently you didn’t have a pulse, which, let me tell you, was fucking terrifying. After like ten years of waiting, they told me you were doing fine, but were taking you to radiology to replace the catheter. It’s switched to the other side now.”

Now that he mentions it, Matt can feel the new tube on the left side of his chest.

“You’re going to be here for at least a few days for antibiotics and so they can make sure your heart keeps working properly.” He sighs and rubs his face with his hands.

“Are you…” There’s some sort of emotion here that Matt is trying to grasp, but can’t quite figure it out. “Angry?” he guesses.

“Jesus Matt, no. Well, maybe, but not at you. I was terrified and worried and afraid. I still am,” he admits.

Something twists in Matt’s chest that has nothing to do with the state of his ribs.

“I’m sorry,” he whispers. “I know that it’s not my fault, not really, but I still feel like my body is betraying me, and I’m sorry.”

Foggy doesn’t say anything to that, just pulls Matt’s head into his chest for a hug, and doesn’t let go for many long minutes.

 

 


 

 

He’s in the hospital for five days on IV antibiotics in order to get a handle on the infection. Foggy works a few hours at the office in the morning, and spends the afternoon and evening with him. Matt feels like garbage for the first few days, but by the fourth is mostly bored.

 

Taylor comes to see him and tries to convince him to get a fistula again, but Matt’s heart clenches at the thought and nearly sends him into a panic attack for reasons he can’t explain. Taylor seems to realize that conversation is going nowhere, and changes to talking about a possibility of kidney transplant.

 

He has blood taken for HLA typing, which is how the new organ will be matched. There are six antigens that the test looks at, and the more that match, the better the kidney should be for Matt. He hasn’t even been put on a transplant list yet, there are so many tests that have to happen before that can happen, but this is the first step.

 

“It can be a long process,” Taylor says gently. “You’re going to need dialysis that whole time. You had that catheter for how long before you got an infection?”

“A few months. And I know. I know that. I just can’t right now.”

Taylor holds their hands up. “I know.” They soften. “Have you thought about talking to the psychiatrist? Part of the transplant assessment is a psychiatric evaluation, so you’ll have to see one at some point, but it might be good to talk with someone before that process needs to happen.”

Matt shakes his head. “I don’t want to do that yet,” he admits. “I’ve talked to Lucille some more. She’s been really helpful.”

They’d exchanged phone numbers and spent time texting. Foggy had texted her while Matt was unconscious in the ER, and she’d come to sit with him, but had to leave before Matt woke up. Matt couldn’t thank her enough for being there for Foggy when he couldn’t be.

 

“Alright,” Taylor tells him gently, apparently having realized the conversation was futile. “But when it does come time for the psychiatrist assessment, I hope you’ll find it useful.”

Matt smiles and nods and hope it never comes to that.

 

 

Chapter Text

Three weeks later he’s sitting in a psychiatrist’s office at the hospital, because Dr Nadiya told him in no uncertain terms that he either went to this appointment or didn’t get on the transplant list.

 

“Hello Matthew. I’m Dr Bernard. It’s nice to meet you. I understand that this is a mandatory step in being listed for a transplant, and not something you would have chosen, but I hope our time together can be productive. Most of the things I’m going to ask you about are directly from the hospital’s guidelines for assessing potential organ recipients, and I know that they can be both invasive and often redundant to answer, but I’m hoping you’ll bear with me. Does that sound okay?”

“Yeah,” Matt agrees, because he really can’t say anything else. “Call me Matt.”

“Okay, Matt. The first thing I’m going to ask you about is what do you expect to get from this surgery, if you receive a kidney transplant.”

“That I won’t need dialysis anymore. That my life will regain some semblance of normalcy. I know that things will never go back to the way they were before, but I won’t have a catheter in my chest, I won’t have to measure out my fluid intake, and I won’t spend half of my waking hours three times a week attached to a machine.”

“And what if you don’t get a transplant? What if you do get a transplant, but the organ fails?”

Matt shrugs. “I guess I’ll be no further ahead, but at least I’ll have tried.”

“And how would you describe your overall health?”

Matt laughs. “Aside from the kidney failure and blindness? Not bad. Before my kidney issues I would have said my overall health was great. I exercised regularly, ate healthy, and felt pretty good. I still eat healthy, although it’s less of a matter of choice, but I don’t get as much exercise now because I’m usually too tired, and also bruise like a peach.”

“How did you deal with the diagnosis? You have PKD, correct?”

Matt nods. “Yeah. It was… a surprise, to say the least,” he admits. “Neither of my parents are alive, so it’s not like I had any warning about this. And then my kidney function declined pretty quickly. I think it was only a year and a half from diagnosis to needing dialysis. And during that period I got pretty sick a few times.”

“How long have you been blind for?”

“Since I was nine.”

“Two health related events, even that far apart, must have been difficult. Do you ever feel like you got the short end of the stick, health wise?”

Matt makes a face. “I mean, it wasn’t like some genetic disease made me blind, and then some second genetic disease attacked my kidneys. If that happened, then yeah, I’d say I’d be a bit more upset with the bad genetics. But losing my sight was an accident.”

“How did you deal with that at the time?”

“Poorly. I was nine.” He reconsiders. “Actually, it wasn’t bad at first. I learned braille quickly, and navigation came easily to me. But about a year later my dad died, and the blindness got wrapped up in that, and I didn’t deal with many things well around that time.”

“That must have been very difficult,” Dr Bernard says kindly. “It seems like your childhood had a fair amount of trauma. Have you ever been seen by any kind of therapist, or diagnosed with any psychiatric conditions?”

Matt shakes his head. “I did trauma recovery when I was in the hospital after losing my sight, but I don’t remember much of it, which I can only assume means it wasn’t helpful.”

“Have you ever experienced periods of depression?”

Matt considers it. “I’d say after my dad died, yes. But I think that was fairly normal considering the circumstances.”

“Have you ever tried to hurt yourself or participated in risky behaviours?”

A veritable slideshow of Matt’s greatest hits as Daredevil flashes through his head in an instant.

“I mean, I did some stupid things in college, but I never tried to hurt myself intentionally, no.”

It’s not exactly a lie, but it’s also not what the man had asked.

“Do you drink, smoke, or use recreational drugs?”

“Socially, no, and no.”

“Are you compliant with your medications and treatment plan?”

“Oh yes. The fluid limit is the worst, but I manage to stay within one ounce most days.”

“What do you do for work Matt?”

“I’m a lawyer. I have a small practice in the city with my law partner.”

“Has your illness impacted your work?”

“More than I’d like,” he admits. “Even just the hours I have to spend at dialysis are a lot, and then if you factor in transit time, and reduced productivity because I’m tired or sick… It’s definitely an influence.”

“And how is your social support network? Are you married, or have a significant other?”

“Not married, no,” Matt says, ignoring the brief spark of panic that floods him as he considers that. “I am seeing someone though. We’ve been together for about a year and a half now.” And shit, he really needs to figure out their anniversary so he doesn’t miss it this year.

“And are they supportive of your needs with regards to your illness?”

“Oh yeah, he’s great. He’ll make meals with low sodium so we can eat together, he makes sure to schedule meetings around dialysis times, and when I’ve been in the hospital, he always spends as much time with me as possible because he knows how much I hate it.”

“It sounds like you’re very lucky,” Dr Bernard says, smiling.

Matt nods.

 

Dr Bernard makes a few notes before saying anything else. “Well Matt, it looks like you’re a good candidate for a transplant. You’re compliant with your treatments, have a good support network, and understand the risks and limitations of the procedure. I’ll make my recommendation to your nephrologist, and the transplant team might want us to have another meeting, but I’m content with my assessment that you’ll do very well.”

“Thanks,” Matt says, honestly a little shocked. Of course, if he’d told this man everything entirely and truthfully, there’d be no way in hell of him getting an organ, but that life was behind him now, and he couldn’t go back, no matter how many screams woke him up at night. 

Dr Bernard smiles and shakes his hand as they stand up. “I wish you the best of luck. If you ever want to talk again, feel free to contact my office.”

“I will,” Matt assures him, and has absolutely no intention to.

 

Chapter Text

Six months after the infection fiasco, his lab tests show his kidney function has decreased, and it shows. He feels worse. He’s been retaining water in between dialysis sessions and the resulting swelling is both annoying and uncomfortable.

 

Dr Nadiya recommends he moves to three sessions a week. He can’t argue that. He wouldn’t.

 

 


 

 

“I feel guilty,” Matt tells Father Lantom over a latte. He’s carefully allotted the amount of liquid for his visit. He’s been doing a lot of math lately.

“I know that’s pretty much your baseline, but I thought you’d been doing better. What changed?”

“I mean, I was doing better. Foggy made sure of that. But I hate being sick, I hate that I have to spent half of my day in dialysis three times a week, I hate not being able to support Foggy at work, at home. I want to do more for him. He does so much for me.”

“Matthew. That boy loves you. He’s loved you for a long time, if what you’ve told me is any indication. And I know you love him. Him caring for you is not something you should feel guilty about. You would do the same for him. I can guarantee that he would not want you to feel guilty over this. Have you spoken with him about this?”

Matt doesn’t answer, which is answer enough.

“Why don’t you bring him next week and we can talk about this together?” Father Lantom suggests.

Matt hesitates.

“I’ll bring muffins,” Father Lantom promises, and Matt is sold.

 


 

“Did you make these?” Foggy asks, half a muffin in his mouth.

Matt has to admit, they are very good. Apple cinnamon, the perfect balance of spices, a lovely texture, and no unpleasant ingredients.

“I did,” Father Lantom replies.

“They’re excellent,” Matt agrees.

 

Matt picks at his muffin, and Foggy has most of one shoved in his mouth, so neither of them say anything for a few moments, which prompts Father Lantom to pick up the slack.

“So how are you two doing today?”

Foggy has shoved another muffin in his mouth, which leaves Matt to answer the question.

“Pretty well, thanks.”

“Have you two spoken much at all about what you told me?” he asks Matt.

Matt rolls his eyes. “No, because I assumed that’s what we’d be doing here. I wouldn’t want to solve everything and leave you with nothing to do.”

“You overestimate your abilities,” Father Lantom tells him.

Foggy laughs, spraying muffin pieces all over his lap.

“Gross,” Matt tells him.

Foggy swallows before speaking. “He’s not wrong though.”

 

Father Lantom waits for one of them to speak, and when it becomes apparent that neither of them are going to, takes the initiative, again.

“Matthew feels guilty because he believes you are bringing more to this relationship than he is. He feels that you are doing much of the emotional and physical work.”

“Can we talk about this in a church?” Foggy asks, looking around as if God is going to smite him for speaking about their relationship.

“Yes,” Father Lantom says dryly. “I’ve spoken with God. He says it’s fine.”

“Okay, good, cause that’s bullshit.”

Matt winces. “Maybe not the swearing.”

“No, let him finish,” Father Lantom says.

“Matty, I love you. Tell me you know that.”

“Of course I do.” He hopes Foggy understands how offended he is that it even needs to be said.

“And you love me.” It’s a statement, not a question.

“Absolutely.”

“And if I was the one who was sick, you would be doing absolutely everything you could to make it easier for me, without even a thought about it, because you’re a good person and that’s what people do in relationships.”

Matt knows where Foggy is going with this. “Yes, but-”

Foggy presses a finger over his lips. “It’s my time. Don’t interrupt. God wouldn’t like it.”

Matt rolls his eyes, but lets Foggy continue without even licking his finger or attempting to bite it. (Character growth.)

“I can’t go to dialysis for you. I can’t do the job of your kidneys for you. I can’t make it hurt less or take away your liquid restrictions or somehow cure this shitty disease. But there are a few small things I can do. I can make sure meetings are scheduled around dialysis time. I can cook dinners with low levels of sodium so we can eat together without worrying about it. I can bring work home so we can spend time together. I don’t do these things because someone makes me do them. I do them because I want to. I do them because I love you. But if these things are making you feel guilty, if you genuinely want me to stop doing them, I will, because I respect your wishes. But I don’t think that’s what you really want, is it?”

Matt shakes his head. He can’t speak because of the lump in his throat. It might be the muffins.

 

(It’s not the muffins.)

 

He throws his arms around Foggy and squeezes him tight. His ribs ache a bit with the force of it, but he doesn’t care.

“Thank you,” he whispers into Foggy’s hair. “Thank you.”

 

Father Lantom hums happily, the smug bastard, but leaves them alone, claiming something about lattes that even Foggy can tell is a lie.

Chapter Text

Foggy has been very excited for Matt’s upcoming birthday for days now. Even Karen can recognize it.

 

“Something you want to share?” she asks at work, eyeing Foggy suspiciously.

“Nope,” Foggy beams.

“He’s been like this all weekend,” Matt responds, rolling his eyes. “It’s getting insufferable.”

“Listen, I’m just very excited for your birthday. I happened to do very well with a present this year.”

“You mean better than that year in college where you threw up on me? I can’t imagine you’d be able to top that,” Matt drawls.

“Okay, first of all, you threw up on me first.” He pauses.

“Yes?”

“Okay so I only had the one point but still. I’m allowed to be excited about this. Back me up Karen,” Foggy calls.

Karen gives them a vague thumbs up and hums in their direction. “Sure thing sweetie.”

“Rude,” Foggy mutters, and disappears into his office.

Matt snickers, but gives Karen a thumbs up in return before settling in to work.

 

 


 

 

Foggy’s present is massive. It seems to be the size of a standard painting canvas.

“Did you get me artwork for my birthday, cause I gotta say, I think you missed the mark with this one,” Matt tells him seriously.

Foggy shoves his shoulder. “Shut up and open it.”

 

Matt does, and it’s not exactly canvas, more like a posterboard with string glued to it in assorted places. He still has no clue what it’s supposed to be though, except he can trace the outlines of shapes on the left and right side.

 

“Foggy,” Matt says slowly. “What is this?”

“Um, clearly it’s a matching game that I’m going to need you to complete.”

“Right…” he mutters, tracing the yarn from each shape to stick the Velcro next to the matching shape. It takes 20 seconds because he is an adult who knows his shapes.

“And now this card will reveal the deep meaning of the shapes,” Foggy announces, handing him a card with braille.

 

Happy birthday Matty. I think this is the best present I could give you.

Love Foggy.

 

Star=A2

Square=A29

Triangle=B6

Diamond=B17

Circle=DR54

Pentagon=DR119

 

Matt can’t feel his feet. His heart is racing. There might not be any blood left in his body because surely this can’t be what he thinks it is.

 

“Wow, you are pale. You okay?”

“Tell me what this is,” Matt demands. It comes out more like he’s begging.

“Well, we match bud. 100%.”

They can’t. He has to be wrong.

Matt runs his hand over the card again. “I don’t understand.”

“I got tested. It’s pretty rare for unrelated people to be a complete match, something like one in a hundred thousand, but it’s not unheard of. All they need to do is mix some of our blood together to make sure you won’t reject my kidney, and we’re good to go!” He pauses. “Well, there are probably some more steps in there but honestly that’s the main thing.”

“A complete match,” he echoes.

“Yup. I’ve gotten medically approved for everything else. Should probably lose a little bit of weight. How much does a kidney weigh? I’ll lose that much for sure,” he muses.

“I can’t take it,” Matt blurts out.

Foggy immediately stops muttering to himself. “What?”

“Foggy, I can’t take your kidney from you.”

“You’re not taking it, I’m giving it to you.”

“I can’t,” he repeats.

 

He’s on his feet now, and the poster clatters to the ground in front of him.

 

“You can’t parkour away from your problems,” Foggy calls after him, but Matt very clearly is, so Foggy must be mistaken. He actively stops listening and heads away from his apartment into the city. He can’t face Foggy right now.

 

 


 

 

He slinks back into the apartment late that night, hoping that Foggy is either asleep or not there, but no such luck.

 

He’s sitting on the couch, something playing quietly on his laptop, idly fiddling with the yarn on the poster he had given to Matt.

“I thought you’d be happy,” he admits. “I thought you’d be thrilled.”

He was, for a second. But now he’s only afraid.

Foggy pats the couch next to him. “Come on. Sit down. You tried your way of solving problems, which is to ignore them and parkour away, but I think it’s time to try something different.”

Matt reluctantly sits and slouches down, ending up with his head on Foggy’s lap, who starts running his fingers through Matt’s hair.

“So,” he begins. “Why don’t you want the kidney?”

 

Of course he wants the kidney. He wants the freedom from dialysis, the health that will come from it, a relative end to the revolving door of doctors and appointments.

He just doesn’t want Foggy’s kidney.

 

“I do,” he says finally. “But I don’t want it if it means you could get hurt. It’s a major surgery. There could be complications, not to mention living with only one kidney could lead to all sorts of-”

“Matt,” Foggy interrupts. “You think I don’t know that? It’s the first thing the doctors bring up. Risks of surgery, risks of anesthetic, risks of living with only one kidney, hell, even psychological risks. But if it means you won’t need dialysis anymore, I’d do it in a heartbeat. I’d give you both kidneys. Take all my organs.”

“Please don’t give me all your organs, I don’t need them all,” Matt mutters.

“Okay, fine. But you do need my kidney, and that’s why I want to give it to you.”

It doesn’t have to be yours, Matt doesn’t say. He doesn’t say anything.

Foggy seems to know what he’s thinking though. “Matty, see this from my perspective. Dialysis could stop working. You could get an infection or a blood clot. Your potassium could get messed up and you just drop dead because your heart stops. You could have another cyst rupture and bleed out or so many of the other complications that I might not even know about. I can’t do anything about that. But I can give you my kidney. I want to give you my kidney. Just think, that’s like the best possible symbol of devotion, an entire human organ.”

Matt rolls over so he can glare in Foggy’s direction.

“A little weird?” Foggy asks.

“More than a little.”

“Okay, I won’t phrase it like that again, lest people think I’m a serial killer or something. But honestly Matt. I love you and I care about you and I want you to be happy and healthy, and it’s a complete fucking miracle that my kidney matches you exactly, to the point where I might even think your God wants it that way.”

“Don’t bring God into our sinful relationship,” Matt scoffs.

“Sounds like God approves,” Foggy says.

Matt rolls his eyes. “Since when do you care?”

Foggy shrugs.

“Besides,” Matt continues, “Father Lantom loves you and approves of our relationship, so that’s what is really important.”

Foggy continues running his fingers through Matt’s hair and is quiet for a moment.

“So?” he says finally. “Will you please accept this definitely not live human organ I am trying to gift to you?”

Matt rolls his eyes again. “If you stop saying it like that, then yes. I will gladly take your kidney.”

“Promise,” Foggy tells him, and gives him a kiss on his forehead.

Matt is feeling very loved.

“But you do really need to stop parkouring away from your problems,” Foggy adds.

He is also feeling very attacked.

 

 

Chapter Text

“Foggy thinks it’s a sign that God approves of our relationship because his kidney is a perfect match for me.”

Father Lantom pauses in the latte process to consider that.

“What do you think?” he responds as he continues doing latte things.

Matt shrugs. “I don’t think it’s really the sort of thing that God would be involved in.”

Father Lantom brings the cups over to the table before answering.

“Even if you weren’t in a relationship, Foggy would still be an important part of your life,” he says, sitting down and pushing one cup across the table to Matt. “Would he still give you a kidney even if you weren’t dating?”

“Of course.”

Father Lantom takes a sip of his latte, and from his response, immediately burns his tongue. Matt suspects he did that on purpose so he wouldn’t have to respond.

“So what, are you implying that God only intended us to be friends, and the fact that we’re dating now was not part of some master plan?”

Father Lantom sighs. “No Matthew. I would never try to divine God’s plans, especially in regards to you. You’re an interesting case, to say the least. All the things that have happened in your life, they seem to be at odds with each other. It is not for us to interpret his whims.” He considers a moment before speaking again. “Let not your desire for anything, including direct communication from the Lord, cause you to see in everything a spiritual significance. Though God created the rock, it is most often simply that.”

 

Matt frowns. “I don’t think I’ve heard that before. What’s it from?”

“Book of Lantom,” he replies. “Written especially for stubborn martyrs.”

Matt rolls his eyes again. “I look forward to the publication.”

 

They both sip their lattes in relative silence for a while. Matt can of course hear things in other parts of the church, and even beyond the stone walls, but he focuses on this moment.

It’s peaceful. Soothing. He can’t help but feel like there’s something waiting beyond.

 

“I said no at first,” he admits.

“Of course you did.”

“You’re being very judgey today,” Matt accuses.

“I think I’ve earned that by now, don’t you think?”

Matt shrugs. Probably, but he doesn’t want to give the man the satisfaction.

“I’m assuming you agreed eventually?”

“Yeah. Foggy is a very good lawyer after all.”

Father Lantom hums. “Are you going to enlighten me as to why you refused? I can guess, but I don’t want to assume.”

“He’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” Matt admits. That much is easy to say. “The thought that by trying to do something nice for me, he could get hurt and maybe even die because of it, is horrifying.”

“I’m guessing he had the same feelings.”

Matt nods. “I guess I never really thought about how this whole thing is for him. Knowing he could lose me. I couldn’t handle that if it was reversed. I’m glad it’s this way instead.”

“You do tend towards martyrdom,” Father Lantom agrees.

Matt rolls his eyes and is glad Father Lantom can’t see behind his sunglasses.

He takes a sip of his latte, which has cooled enough that his tongue doesn’t get burnt.

“Plus I think he likes the idea that this is the best gift he can ever give me, and might let him off the hook for future birthdays and holidays.”

“Not many people can say they gave their significant others an organ,” he agrees.

Matt considers it as he sips his latte. “It does make me wonder,” he admits. “About the matching. Maybe God didn’t intend for Foggy to give me the kidney for the reasons he is, but the fact that he wants to can’t be ignored. It makes me feel… Loved.”

“Matthew, you seem to have a hard time recognizing when people are expressing their love for you, even if it’s not romantic love. You are indeed very loved, in this community, and in your others. Try to remember that.”

Matt ignores that, because it’s too many emotions and he doesn’t want to deal with them.

“Either way,” Father Lantom continues. “I’m glad you took the time to have a conversation with him like an adult. It shows growth in your relationship.”

Matt ducks his head down and tries to look innocent.

Father Lantom sighs. “Oh Matthew.”

 

 


 

 

The blood test goes fine. Matt’s blood doesn’t clot with Foggy’s, which means that his body will accept the organ. He’s not sure how to feel about that, but he can practically feel the excited energy rolling off of Foggy in waves after he finds out.

 

He kind of hopes things will move slowly after that, time to do more tests and assessments and such, but apparently Foggy did most of those before even breaking the news to Matt, which was a point of minor contention before Foggy pointed out that it was so much more likely to not work out.

“I didn’t want to get your hopes up,” he said, and Matt can’t help but agree with that.

 

But things move quickly, and surgery is scheduled for only a few weeks later. Both of them are sent home from the last appointment with piles of pamphlets, just in case either of them hadn’t considered the potential risks of the procedure before that point.

 

Foggy spends an evening scanning through them, reading the more interesting parts out loud to Matt, who is lying across the couch, his head in Foggy’s lap, reading a braille book.

 

“They’re not even going to cut me open. It’s gonna be done with little tools, which I think is pretty cool.”

“I mean, I think they cut you open to put the tools in, but yeah, smaller cuts for sure.”

“Smartass,” Foggy mutters, but doesn’t even shove Matt off his lap, which means he’s not actually angry.

Matt beams up at him, and is rewarded with a kiss for his efforts.

 

 

Chapter Text

It’s a disgustingly early hour in the morning. Before they’d even left the apartment, Foggy had complained about it being dark out while Matt just stood there, blank faced and nodding. Foggy didn’t find it as amusing, but the lack of sleep tended to do that to him.

 

“I’m doing this for you,” he mutters in the cab, his head on Matt’s shoulder.

“I know,” Matt says softly.

 

 


 

 

They come to take Foggy into surgery first. They’ll remove his kidney first, then bring Matt into another OR and start prepping him to receive the kidney.

 

But Matt’s holding his hand, and he doesn’t ever want to not be holding his hand, because as long as he’s holding his hand, it means Foggy is awake and alive and that’s all Matt could ever ask for out of this life.

 

“I need that hand, bud,” Foggy says gently.

And Matt would love to give it to him, he really would, but he can’t seem to remember how to let go. And he’s afraid. He’s so afraid. Back when he was still Daredevil, the newspapers would call him the man without fear, but that was so wrong. He’s terrified of letting go because he doesn’t know what will come after.

 

“It’ll be fine,” Foggy tells him, confidence in his voice that he has no right possessing. But Matt believes it.

“You’ll be there when I wake up?” he asks.

“Promise,” Foggy tells him, and there’s no lie, no uncertainty in his heart.

 

Matt kisses him. He’s not sure if he’s allowed, but he does, deeply and desperately as if somehow a kiss can mean all the things he can’t find the words to say. It says come back to me and I love you and thank you so much for this and even I don’t need the kidney if it means I can still have you.

 

And Foggy just smiles at him like he understands completely. “Love you too,” he says.

 

And then Matt is letting go of his hand and listening to him disappear down the hall, and he’s never felt this alone in his life despite being in a hospital surrounded by people.

Karen sits on the bed next to him and holds his hand.

“We can talk, or we can find the trashiest reality show the hospital offers,” she tells him.

Matt nearly cries with gratitude, and they set out to find a truly horrific show.

They end up watching Queer Eye, which isn’t trashy, but The Best, and almost makes the time they have to wait bearable until a nurse comes to give Matt a sedative and things get fuzzy from there.

 

 


 

 

“Matthew, how do you feel?”

“Pretty good,” he mutters. There’s something about it that’s familiar. He thinks people keep asking him this. Does his answer change? Should it change?

“That’s great. You just got out of surgery. You’re in the recovery room now. Can you rate your pain for me on a scale from 1 to 10?”

“What pain?” he mumbles. He’s never felt pain in his life, if his current state is anything to go by.

“Okay, well you be sure to let me know if you start feeling pain, or if you feel unwell at all, okay?”

He hums in agreement.

 

 

“Matt, how are you feeling?”

Didn’t he just answer this?

“Fine,” he responds.

“You’ve just had surgery. You’re out of recovery now. How is your pain?”

“Fine,” he repeats. There might be pain, but it’s dulled enough he doesn’t care about it.

 

“Let me know if that changes. But right now, there’s someone here who wants to talk to you.”

Matt knows who it is instantly, like the mention of there being another person made their heartbeat audible to only him.

“Foggy?” he breathes.

“Hey Matty. How you doing?” Foggy sounds warm, fond. He sounds like sunshine.

“Pretty good. How are you?”

Foggy giggles, which Matt thinks is a little rude. He feels like he’s doing a very good job of carrying on a conversation while on a lot of medication.

There’s something foreign and unusual about this situation, but he can’t put his finger on it. It feels like a joke is being played on him, or maybe he’s the joke. He is very high on pain meds, but he doesn’t think he’s said anything funny. Or maybe he just hasn’t yet.

“Is something wrong? Are you filming me? Is this one of those viral videos? Are we married? Are you going to post this on youtube with a dumb caption like ‘Area man forgets husband, feels nurse’s face and asks if he’s straight married to her’.”

 

Foggy doesn’t answer, just makes a choked noise. Something beeps, and Matt isn’t sure if it’s him. Is Foggy alright?

 

“Okay, that’s enough,” someone says, and a curtain is drawn between them.

 

Matt is still trying to piece it together when he suddenly remembers what happened. Surgery. He has a new kidney. Foggy’s kidney. Foggy gave him a kidney and then his heart sounded funny when Matt was confused and asked if they were married.

 

(Are they married? That part still isn’t clear. He doesn’t remember getting married, but he’s having a hard time remembering much of anything.)

 

There are other people there, someone talking to him, another one inflating a blood pressure cuff on his arm, but he’s listening to Foggy’s heartbeat on the other side of the curtain.

 

“Foggy?”

“Yeah Matt?”

“Are we married?”

“Ah, no bud. We’re not.”

“Hmm.” Matt considers it.  “Maybe we should be.”

The person at Matt’s side freezes and Foggy doesn’t respond.

“Foggy?” Matt asks. Maybe he said the wrong thing. Maybe he was imagining things.

But the curtain is yanked back and Foggy is right there, someone behind him protesting about being out of bed.

“Matthew are you seriously proposing to me while out of your mind on pain meds?”

Now that he thinks about it, he is. “Yes,” he says confidently.

“You absolute idiot,” Foggy says fondly. “Of course I’ll marry you. But I want a better proposal when you’re not high, okay?”

Matt beams. “Yeah.”

 

The blood pressure cuff on his arm is removed with a loud rip of Velcro.

“Your blood pressure is perfect, and let me just say, congratulations,” the nurse tells him. “A new kidney and a fiancée all in one day.”

The person behind Foggy has given up on drawing the curtain closed, apparently having realized that Foggy would have to be dragged away before he went willingly. Instead the bed is pushed closer, so that they can entangle their hands together.

 

Between the sheer happiness of getting (accidentally) engaged, and the painkillers still flooding his veins, Matt pleasantly drifts off, confident in the fact that Foggy will be there when he wakes up, not only today, but for the rest of his days.