“I didn't see you come in last night,” Foggy said. “Does that mean your night with Helena went well...?”
Even in his blazing substitute for vision, Matt could see Foggy waggling his eyebrows. Not that he needed to; the innuendo in his voice was enough.
“Not that I would kiss and tell, but it wasn't like that. We were meeting for research, like I said before.”
“Research. Uh-huh.” Foggy didn’t sound convinced. “Of the human body, though right?”
Matt's threw him a withering though amused look.
“We're not in high school, Foggy. I don't need to cover up my liaisons with women. If we were hooking up, I'd just say that.”
Foggy sagged in disappointment, and Matt curbed the temptation to roll his eyes.
“Come on, buddy. I'm trying to live vicariously through you. You could at least pretend you're banging all the hot women you uncannily seem to attract.”
“Sorry, no banging.” He hesitated, and immediately regretted it. For all the secrets Matt kept from him, sometimes Foggy didn’t miss a thing.
“But? There's a ‘but’ in there, I can see it. Tell me.”
“It's not what you think.”
“I don't care. I'll take anything.”
Matt's smile made Foggy grin.
“Well, there was touching–”
“Of boobs? Please tell me it was boobs. Helena's rack looks like the kind you could just bury your face in and–”
“No. Jesus, Foggy. I said it wasn't like that. I touched her face.”
“Her...face?” Foggy quirked an eyebrow. “I guess it's not for me to judge what a guy is into but...”
Matt sighed again.
“It's not sexual. Or romantic or anything. It's so I can know what she looks like.”
“Oh. I guess that makes sense. Though you already know she's hot, right? I've told you that.”
“It's more about connecting with the people around me. I feel like I know them a little better if I can picture them, and voice alone doesn't always cut it.”
Foggy seemed to think for a moment.
“You've never asked to touch my face.”
Matt was surprised. They’d barely known each other a year, and the face-touching wasn’t something he did with many people, mostly because he didn’t actually need it. Sure, it was a good line for women, and it did add detail to his not-so-crisp images of people, but it wasn’t necessary. And honestly, he hadn’t really thought about it much lately, as it wasn’t a big deal. Clearly, Foggy saw it differently.
“You want me to touch your face?”
Foggy shifted and shrugged nonchalantly.
“Yeah. I mean, no, whatever. You said it's for connecting with people, so I thought maybe I'd fall into that category. But it's fine. I don't know how it works, I guess.”
It was a low blow, and surely Foggy knew that. Not that Matt could blame him all that much. He had to admit, from the outside it did look like the face-touching was something he’d not deemed important enough to tell Foggy. And he knew Foggy considered them on a path to being best friends, if not there already.
Matt’s brow furrowed and he ducked his head a little.
“I don't mean it as a slight against you. It's a complicated thing, a lot of people don't like it. I didn't want to put it on you and make you feel obligated.”
“I wouldn't have felt obligated. If you didn't want to, you can just say that.”
Matt's frown grew deeper. Foggy was more hurt by this than he’d realised.
“It's not that I didn't want to.”
“So, you do want to?”
“Do you want me to?”
“If you want to.”
Matt's sigh was exasperated. They could go around in circles forever with this. He was just going to have to be the one to take the high ground.
“Yes. Alright. I want to. Come here, then.”
Foggy grinned slightly in petty triumph, and moved to sit on the bed next to Matt.
“Cool. Let’s do this. Then you can know how devastatingly handsome I look, as well as sound.”
Matt chuckled and turned to face Foggy slightly more. He lifted his hands up, pretending he was waiting for Foggy to guide them to the right place.
“Grab my hands and put them wherever you’d like me to start.”
“Man, I wish more people would say things like that to me. And by people, I mean women.”
Matt laughed again, shaking his head.
“We can just forget about this if you don’t want to take it seriously.”
“Okay, okay, sorry. I’ll be serious. Totally serious, from like, right now.”
Foggy brought his hands to Matt’s wrists and drew them to his face, laying Matt’s fingertips at his hairline. He then let go and waited. Matt started to run his fingers over Foggy’s skin, down over his forehead and temples before coming back in to draw the line of his brow. It was warm under his touch, and not quite the feel he’d imagined just from looking at him.
Not that Matt had imagined touching Foggy before.
Well, perhaps a little, when it was late, and he let his imagination run away with him. Before he had the chance to remind himself that Foggy was his friend, and as straight as an arrow, so it was futile as well as inappropriate.
Foggy’s eyelids fluttered shut as Matt felt more firmly along his eyebrows, his thumbs drawing down the bridge of his nose and over his nostrils. It was slightly squatter and rounder than he’d thought. He felt Foggy still under his hands as his fingertips trailed down onto his eyelids, feeling out the shapes there and sensation of the delicate skin under his eyes. Foggy’s eyebrows went up, and that was when Matt noticed his friend’s breathing stutter, and the way his heart was racing in his chest.
It hadn’t been, not at first, but then Matt had been too busy concentrating on his own senses that he couldn’t say for sure when Foggy’s heartrate had changed. Now that muscle was working much harder, and Matt could feel the blood rushing through Foggy’s chest and out into his veins, surging around his body. There was a growing heat across his skin, Matt could see it in Foggy’s cheeks beneath his hands, and in blotches down his throat.
Matt knew what this was. He did, of course. He’d learnt in his teen years, the signs for it. But it couldn’t be right, not now, not with Foggy. He would have noticed before now, he would have seen something more than general affection and appreciation. But then again, he’d never touched Foggy before, not as intimately as this. Perhaps he’d awoken something.
He needed more information.
Matt let his fingers continue their path over Foggy’s cheekbones, pressing in to feel the structure of the bones and the chubbiness of the cheeks that lay over and under it. Foggy’s mouth fell open a little and his breaths were hot against the skin of Matt’s palms, the sensation sending a shiver up Matt’s spine. He heard his own heartrate begin ratcheting up in pace. Foggy still had his eyes closed, and Matt was glad for it, because he wasn’t sure how much of his roiling emotions were currently being reflected on his face.
When Matt’s thumbs came down to drag over Foggy’s lips, his friend’s heart rose to a hammer in his ears, though the unmistakable thrill Foggy was feeling was shot through with uncertainty. His fingers curled into a grip his jeans and his brow furrowed at what was probably complete confusion of his bodily reactions. This was a new thing to him, evidently, and Matt realised that meant he should probably stop what he was doing.
Against his better judgement, and knowing he was being selfish, Matt let his touch linger on Foggy’s skin for a few moments more, his fingertips tracing the back of his jaw and creeping just briefly onto his throat. Then he drew his hands away and set them flat on his thighs, pressing down to stop the shake in them from the rush of adrenaline.
A few seconds passed before Foggy blinked and opened his eyes again. His cheeks were still rosy.
“Wow.” Foggy swallowed visibly. “That was…”
“A bit weird, huh?”
He needed to give Foggy an out. He hadn’t meant to stir up his friend in this way, and it was better if they could just both forget about it and move on. Despite the desire Matt had sensed from Foggy, it was unlikely to be anything more than the instinctive response to an intimate touch. He couldn’t take advantage of that.
He still looked flustered and somewhat absorbed in his own thoughts. Matt didn’t blame him.
“It’s sort of why I hadn’t really said anything about it to you in the first place,” Matt explained. “It’s not something people tend to enjoy the sensation of – having someone’s hands on their face. It often feels odd and overwhelming.”
“Yeah. It was… definitely that.”
“Sorry. I probably should have warned you. But you asked, so I agreed.”
Foggy shook a finger at him, which he pretended not to see.
“Hey no, you wanted to do it. You said so. In those exact words. There’s no denying this one, Murdock.”
He was grinning, and Matt couldn’t help but return the smile.
“Yeah, alright. I guess I did want to know what you look like.”
“Now you know.” Foggy paused. “Except, can we not do that ever again? No offense, but you were right – it was weird.”
Part of Matt was painfully disappointed; being able to wake up Foggy’s body with his touch like that made him giddy and hungry for more. But the rest of him knew pursuing that path would only ruin their friendship. Even if Foggy was amenable to more touching, and in a less platonic capacity, Matt didn’t want to be the one he explored his sexuality with. He knew plenty of people that messed around in college, and then never gave it a second thought after they left. Matt couldn’t go through that with Foggy, mostly because he wasn’t sure he could let go again when Foggy decided he was, in fact, straight after all. It would be too much.
“Deal. As long as you promise not to passive-aggressively guilt me into something like that again.”
Foggy scoffed indignantly.
“That’s so not what happened.”
“I know guilt when it’s used on me. Trust me, I’m Catholic. That’s like our whole thing.”
Foggy’s grin returned and he bumped Matt affectionately with his shoulder.
“Yeah, well. You deserved it, buddy.”
Matt’s smile was wry.