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Protect Him

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Foggy wants it on record he was not wrong about Matt being even more trouble than he was already with the addition of Faith and Buffy. In fact, he was more right than he possibly could have known. Because of course the universe Paired his hot, crazy, super-powered, crime fighting vigilante of a partner with not just one, but two hot, crazy, super-powered, monster fighting mystic legend types. Foggy is convinced he’s going to end up with an ulcer.

All that being said, he’s also not above admitting he might have been a little wrong. Because those three are more protective of each other than any Pairing he’s seen before. Matt goes out patrolling more often, but comes home injured significantly less often. And his best friend is happy in a way that Foggy wasn’t sure his brooding ass was ever going to be.

Besides that, Matt being Paired with the alpha Slayers means it was next to no time before the Council started throwing business Nelson and Murdock’s way. 

Someone named Andrew calls the office about a month after Matt meets Faith and Buffy, prattles on about a bunch of nonsense, then asks them to mediate what he refers to as a ‘clan settlement on behalf of the International Watcher’s Council’. The clans are both native to Hell’s Kitchen, he says, and someone called Giles thinks it might be beneficial for the mediators to be locals. Then he rattles off a retainer fee that almost makes Foggy pass out. He agrees on the spot, Andrew promises to send books related to the clan laws along with the retainer check, and Foggy goes through the rest of the day in a haze.

The next morning, the check is delivered with a literal medieval trunk containing six heavy, leather-bound law books. Law books related entirely to the ancient laws of two demon clans. Foggy just gapes down at them.

Buffy strides in like she owns the place and glances over his shoulder. “Oh, did Giles call you? I told him you would be perfect to handle this when he said the clans were in Hell’s Kitchen!”

Foggy has had a month to accept the existence of demons. He did not expect to be asked to work with them. He clears his throat. “Uh, are these things… violent?”

Buffy shakes her head. “Nah. I mean, Clem is the only one of their kind I know very well, but they’re peaceful. Just like to talk circles around each other for hours.”

“Giles says me and B are too violent to negotiate with them,” Faith interjects from her usual perch on Matt’s desk.

Buffy snorts. “He’s not wrong. I’d wanna start punching things after the first time one of them repeats that kitten-ratio thing.”

Faith shudders. “Yeah, that whole thing is wiggy.”

Foggy opens his mouth.

Buffy holds up a hand. “Trust me, don’t ask.”

Foggy shrugs, looks at the check, then squares his shoulders and starts reading.

That first job alone puts Nelson and Murdock’s accounts in the black for the first time in… ever. And the Council just keeps sending them jobs after that. Which is how, six months later, Foggy finds himself standing in the lobby of Stark Tower, fidgeting with his tie and trying not to sweat, about to meet with a bunch of who’s who of SHIELD to explain the territory laws of Fyarl demons, because apparently some super hush hush SHIELD group had been unknowingly operating in their territory for a few weeks and they were not happy about it. 

“Mr. N- Foggy?!” Foggy looks up toward the pleasant voice.

He smiles at the curvy brunette. “Darcy!”

She beams back. “Oh, thank Thor! I had no idea what kind of lawyer these council people were gonna send us and our people are edgy about this whole thing.”

Foggy’s nervousness springs back full force.

Darcy doesn’t seem to notice, just hooks her arm through his and tugs him toward the bank of elevators. “How the hell have you been? I haven’t seen you since Culver! Where’d you end up finishing school anyway?”

“Columbia. And,” Foggy clears his throat. “Good, good… you?”

“Nice.” Darcy shrugs. “Can’t complain. Usually I’m down in the labs, but today was declared a Soulmate day, so I got to lock them all out. Hoped for a day off, but Maria’s assistant was sick, so I got roped into this. Happy I did, though. It’s good to see you.”

Foggy only follows maybe a quarter of what just came out of her mouth, but he smiles. “You too.”

The elevator opens and she continues half manhandling him by the elbow down the hall and into a small conference room. A few nondescript suits are sitting on one side of the table. A few flashier suits - very obviously lawyers - are seated on the other side of the table. Darcy plops herself down at the foot of the table without a word. Two women, a blonde and a brunette, both tall, both fit, both in tac suits that make Foggy wish he was wearing something more concealing than suit pants… he thinks of demons and gets himself under control.

Darcy points toward them. “Deputy Director Maria Hill and Agent Sharon Carter. They’re the boss ladies.”

The lawyers take in his slightly rumpled appearance and sneer. Darcy snaps something under her breath at the nearest one and he blushes, turning away from Foggy. 

Foggy shoots her a brief, but grateful smile. He is so in over his head. Another glance around the room confirms his suspicions that almost everyone is armed and he kind of wishes he would have taken Buffy up on her offer to come with him today. He looks toward the women at the front again, standing well within each other’s personal space, he absently notes, and something in the severity of Maria’s expression softens and she gives him an encouraging smile and gestures up to the head of the table. Foggy takes a deep breath, steels himself, and moves up next to them, then forces himself to open his mouth, ignoring the fact that these gorgeous women - how does he keep getting himself surrounded by stunning women who could break him in half without breaking a sweat? - are probably going to think he’s batshit crazy before he ever even has a chance to actually speak to them… not that he’d stand a chance with them anyway.

When Foggy finishes his presentation, he answers a few, surprisingly intelligent and relevant, questions from the nondescript suits and corrects more than a few asinine assumptions from the lawyers before most of the group files out, many looking more than a little shaken. Darcy remains, but kicks her feet up on the conference table and pulls her phone out. One glance at it and she plants her feet back on the floor and shoots a hopeful glance at Maria and Sharon, the only other parties still present, at the head of the room with Foggy.

Maria rolls her eyes. “They got back about ten minutes ago, I know. Go get your boys. We’ll see that Mr. Nelson makes it out.”

“You’re the best, Maria!” Darcy calls, already skidding toward the door. “Good to see you, Foggy! I’ll call you and we’ll do lunch soon.”

“Give Steve a kiss for me,” Sharon calls, a teasing lilt to her voice.

As soon as she’s out the door, Maria and Sharon exchange a glance and a nod.

Maria sighs. “FRIDAY, activate privacy protocol 5455.”

The door slides shut and locks with an audible click as every window in the room tints to black. Foggy blinks in surprise. Maria sits in the chair to his left and Sharon slumps into the chair to his right.

Maria leans her elbows on the table. “Reading between the lines here, but we’re going to have to kill these things, aren’t we?”

Foggy, still stressed and exhausted from the presentation, doesn’t register the Words until after he answers. “Silver blade to the heart.” He stops, blinks, then looks directly at Maria. She’s wearing a similarly surprised expression. He gets a feeling it’s not one she wears often. “Um…”

Finally, she smiles. “I was starting to wonder if we were ever going to meet you.”

“We?” Foggy squeaks. His brain slowly connects the dots, and he turns to face Sharon, who’s looking at him with a soft expression he has a feeling is just as rare as Maria’s surprise.

Sharon reaches over and gently twines her fingers with his, a little at odds with the teasing glint that shines in her eyes. “Don’t look so scared.”

Suddenly, Maria laughs.

Foggy decides he really likes that sound.

Sharon quirks an eyebrow at Maria.

Maria keeps snickering. “‘We’re going to have to kill these things’ and ‘don’t look scared’... Shar, this poor guy probably spent most of his life thinking he was gonna be Paired with a couple serial killers!”

Sharon snorts. “Oh my… I am so sorry.”

Foggy looks toward the blonde, opens his mouth, then snaps it closed again, completely unsure what to say.

Sharon’s face goes soft again and her free hand brushes across her ribs. “Don’t worry, sweetheart, your Words are good.”

Foggy looks back at Maria, who smiles encouragingly, then back at Sharon. “Okay, yeah, I’m the luckiest asshole in the world.”

Both women laugh.

Foggy blushes. “Pretty sure you two might break me, though.”

As if they planned it, both women move right into his personal space, pressed against either side of him.

Sharon’s lips brush his ear. “I promise we’re gonna try.”

He feels Maria’s smile curve at his jawline on the other side. “But only us. Anyone else ever touches you…” Maria trails off.

“You might actually be Paired with a couple serial killers,” Sharon finishes.