To be honest, Foggy is insanely relieved when his mom asks him to take a gap year and watch over the coffee shop. He should be upset, probably, being a bright young thing fresh out of law school and ready to take on the world, but honestly? He’s fresh out of law school, and his brain is fried and his savings are run dry and he’s one student loan away from holding up a bank at gunpoint.
Running a coffee shop is relatively easy by comparison, and it comes with tips, which is always a plus.
“Do you have a Venti?” The girl in front of the counter asks, squinting at the menu board. Foggy wants to be annoyed, because she’s the sixth person to ask that today and Starbucks is pretty much the only place in the world that has a Venti. This place is not even close to Starbucks. Still, he sees the haunted look in the girl’s eyes—hidden behind chunky black specs, totally a hipster—and he smiles instead.
“Wrapping up finals?” He asks sympathetically, and the girl startles out of her squinty trance and nods, groaning. “Okay, Venti is large, but for you I will put it in the biggest cup we have and add an extra shot of espresso. Okay?”
“Thank you.” The girl murmurs reverently, and then she bursts into tears. Definitely wrapping up finals. About ten minutes later, after the liberal administering of kind words and napkins, she’s toddling out the shop with a drink that would probably give someone a decade older a heart attack. Ah, to be young.
He’s already a bit past closing after talking the girl down into some semblance of sanity (he knows what it’s like to be a sleep-deprived student and what they want to hear), so he locks up and goes to wipe down the counter, glancing at the tip jar and smiling gleefully when he sees that it’s full to the brim. God, he loves privileged college students.
“That was nice of you.”
“Holy hell!” Foggy stumbles back, looking around wildly for the deep, disembodied voice that is apparently impressed with his barista skills. “Um, am I hallucinating from exhaustion, or is there actually someone here?”
The deep, rather attractive disembodied voice chuckles, and then becomes significantly less disembodied when a man detaches himself from the shadows and steps forward. He’s rather attractive too, to match the rather attractive voice, even though only super villain ninjas should be able to emerge from shadows.
“Have you been there the whole time?” He asks, peering back at the shadowy corner the man emerged from. Foggy didn't even know his coffee shop had shadowy corners. “And if so, what exactly were you doing? Because I’m pretty sure I didn’t sell you a coffee.” He would definitely remember selling a coffee to this guy. He would also remember scribbling his number on the guy’s coffee cup afterwards, which he totally would have done if given the chance.
“I just slipped in a moment ago, actually.” The man smiles apologetically. “Sorry, I didn’t realize you were locking up.”
Foggy tilts his head.
“Yeah, I actually did lock up. Sorry, I didn’t mean to trap you inside.” He also hadn’t seen the man come in, which is sort of suspicious. Another point in the ninja column. “So, you want something to drink?”
The man shakes his head.
“No, I couldn’t. You were already putting things away.” Foggy waves him off easily, turning towards the cups.
“Nah, it’s fine. For here or to go?”
The man tilts his head to match Foggy’s, eyes hidden behind dark glasses. After a moment, his lips quirk into a small smile.
“For here, I think, if you don’t mind the company.”
So very much no. I get to stare at you instead of dirty dishes.
“No problem, take a seat. What can I get you?”
The man steps towards him, and it takes Foggy a moment to place the man’s stick. It had been hidden before, folded up in the man’s sleeve, but now it’s tapping out a rhythm as he makes his way forward.
Huh, blind. At least he won’t be able to see Foggy ogling him.
“Left two steps and you won’t get the squeaky chair.” He offers, turning back to the cups. The man’s hums out a sound of thanks and does so, reaching up and finding the back of the chair one away from the creaky one. He smoothly pulls it back and settles himself in. “So, pick your poison. Black, white, mocha--shaken not stirred?”
The man laughs.
“Actually, a mocha sounds pretty good.” Foggy nods, reaching for his favorite mug. The man deserves the best cup, Foggy can tell. It’s a truly eye-searing shade of red, but it’s a pleasant, rounded shape and it always seems to keep the coffee warm, no matter how long it sits there.
“You, my friend, get the red cup. It’s the best one, in case you were wondering.”
“I’m honored.” The man says, smiling as Foggy turns away to get the drink started. “I’m Matt, by the way. Matt Murdock.”
“Foggy Nelson. Well, Franklin Nelson, but Franklin just makes me think of the tortoise and Foggy sounds much cooler. Mysterious, you know? A dark and foggy night.” The man nods thoughtfully.
“I can see that. It’s sort of hard-boiled detective meets sci-fi.” Foggy nods, grinning at him.
“Thank you! Finally, someone who sees the light.” He blinks, pausing for a second. “That’s not offensive, right?”
“Not at all.” Matt assures him, and Foggy sighs in relief.
“Good. ‘Cause I have this tendency to stick my foot in my mouth, but offending someone this fast would actually set a record. How sweet?”
“Very.” Matt drawls, smiling disarmingly, and Foggy blinks once again—well, that was inconveniently arousing—before turning back to the syrups. He adds a little extra milk, because the guy is built but in a way bordering on rangy, and then adds a little extra syrup. If the guy likes sweet, Foggy can be sweet. He can be hella sweet.
“A man after my own heart.” He teases, because if Matt can flirt like that, so can Foggy. Besides, it’s general enough that Matt can’t call him out on it if things go south. Matt doesn’t seem the type to do that anyway, Foggy thinks. He’s only known him for a minute, but he just sort of knows. “People are always telling me that I’ll regret it later, but I think they only say that because they’re bitter, bitter people who are allergic to happiness.”
“I know a thing or two about that.” Matt admits, smile dimming a little. Oh, geez. The guy’s got a dark past. He’s tall and handsome and has a killer smile, and he has a dark past.
“You’re not secretly a billionaire, are you?” He asks, just to be sure. The man cocks his head, looking a little bemused.
“No?” He offers hesitantly, and Foggy nods.
“Not going around fighting crime at night in a tight black get-up? Maybe a mask?”
The man’s smile quirks a little oddly.
“Not recently.” Foggy nods again.
“Okay, good, just checking that you’re not actually Batman.” Matt relaxes, the strange slant to his mouth softening as he laughs.
“Do I really seem like Batman?” He asks, amused, and Foggy nods earnestly.
“Dude, you totally give off a Batman Vibe.” He proclaims sincerely. “Which is a good thing, let me tell you. Not many people can pull off a Batman Vibe.” He stirs in the syrup and then, on a whim, swirls a shape onto the top of the foam.
He pushes it towards Matt.
“Okay, I just want you to know that there is a seriously badass smiley face gracing the top of your drink, because I am a master foam artist. Just, you know. If you want to take a second to appreciate it.”
Matt’s perfectly sculpted eyebrow--does he tweeze those, geez, how does that even work blind?--quirks.
“That seems sort of like a wasted effort.” He points out, gesturing towards his glasses, and Foggy tuts.
“No way. Art like that is never a wasted effort, and I bet you appreciate it more than most people who come through these doors. That’s why I told you.” He eyes the man again, more critically this time now that he’s not blinded by his massive hotness. He looks a little ragged around the edges, jaw stubbled and skin pale. His hair’s a mess too, sticking up in all direction’s like he’s just uncovered it. Major hat hair, even though Foggy doesn’t see a hat. He remembers the careful way the man grinned at him before he sat down, a little confused at Foggy’s warm welcome.
“And you know, not to be nosy, but you look like you could use a free smile or two.” Foggy says slowly, not wanting to offend.
The man head snaps up, and Foggy has the somewhat unnerving feeling that the man is actually watching him, even though that shouldn’t be possible. Sizing him up. Foggy just smiles back in as nonthreatening a manner as he can, even though it shouldn’t be possible for the man to see that, either. Just to be safe, Foggy focuses very hard on sending out nonthreatening vibes too. Which he’s not sure is actually a thing, but he’s willing to try it.
Finally, the man smiles. It’s very different from his previous smiles, and Foggy realizes with a little lurch that it’s different because he actually means this one. The others had been polite, he thinks. Matt had seemed amused, and maybe he was, but all of those smiles has been carefully calculated to put Foggy at ease. He’d seen it in debates all the time back at law school, lulling the council into a false sense of security, charming them into thinking or doing something without them realizing it.
Matt, he thinks, would be a very good lawyer.
But now, ducking his head and beaming shyly into his coffee cup, running his fingers along the rim like he’s feeling out the smiley face he can’t see, Foggy thinks that Matt might also be a very good guy. A very good guy that hasn’t seen a friendly face in a while.
“Yeah.” Matt says quietly, turning the cup in his hands gently without looking up. “Yeah, I sort of could.”
Matt doesn’t leave the shop for a few hours. They talk about old movies (Matt was, apparently, not always blind but must have become so very young, judging by the dates of the films) and childhood stories and favorite foods, and by the time Matt’s getting up to go, Foggy has the strangest feeling that he’s known this guy for years. They just sort of… click.
Matt's hand goes to his pocket on the way out, obviously reaching for his wallet, and Foggy waves him off and refuses payment.
“I said a free smile, Matt. Besides, I can afford to buy a guy a drink.” Matt gives that shy, adorable smile again that makes Foggy’s heart skip a beat. He thanks Foggy before ducking out through the door Foggy is holding open for him, waltzing off into the night like he owns it. Foggy lets the door swing shut behind him, leaning against it and sighing.
“I’m in trouble.” He mutters to himself, blowing hair out of his eyes, and then he goes to wipe down the counters. Again.
Foggy is kicking himself a week later for not giving Matt his phone number. Sure, he wouldn’t have been able to be all slick and leave it on the cup like he’d imagined, but considering the state of his handwriting that might actually be a good thing. He could have manned up and just told Matt he’d like to call him sometime, but he hadn’t and now he’s got to deal with it.
It sucks, because he’d actually liked Matt. The guy wasn’t just another pretty face. They’d gelled really well together, and Foggy hadn’t laughed that much in a long time. He’s pretty sure Matt hadn’t either. And even if Matt was totally uninterested in being more than friends, well, Matt would have been an awesome friend. Like, matching rocking chairs ‘til death do you part sort of friend.
He’s closing up again, sighing at the somewhat lacking state of the tip jar, when who should come strolling into view but Matt Murdock, smiling broadly and cool as a cucumber.
“You have an eerie knack for showing up just when I’m about to close.” He says in greeting, and Matt stops, rolling his shoulders sheepishly and looking unsure. His smile fades a little.
“Right, sorry. I can—“ He gestures behind him and Foggy huffs.
“I’m rolling my eyes at you.” He informs Matt as he does so. “Get in here, you big lug.”
Matt grins brightly at him, frame relaxing, and brushes past the door that he somehow knows Foggy is holding open for him.
“Sorry, I really didn’t mean to catch you this late again, but I was in the neighborhood and I thought of you.” Which is incredibly gratifying, but still…
“Hell’s Kitchen is not the sort of neighborhood you should be wandering around aimlessly, especially at night. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love the place. Home sweet home. It’s just not really, you know, strolling material. Not so much room for moseying.”
Matt shrugs, utterly at ease.
“It’s my city.” He says simply, like that explains everything. Foggy snorts.
“It’s my city too, and I still give it a fifty-fifty chance that I’m going to get mugged every time I walk out the door.” Matt cocks his head, frowning curiously.
“Have you ever actually been mugged?” He asks, and Foggy shrugs.
“Yeah, let’s see… Five times, I think. Only once in the past year though. The neighborhood is really shaping up.” He jokes, trying to make light of it because honestly, at this point it’s old hat. Matt however looks rather disconcerted, frown deepening.
“When this year?” He questions, sounding rather like a prosecutor cross-examining a suspect. “Did he get away with it?”
“Sort of. I mean, it wasn’t exactly a lucrative hold-up. All the he got off me was a couple bucks and some pocket lint.” Foggy says, and then hesitates for a moment. He’s tempted to leave it like that, a funny anecdote, but there’s something about Matt that keeps him from laughing it off like he usually does. “I saw him on the news, a week later. He’d been arrested for something else, something big, and now he's in prison for the foreseeable future.” He shrugs a little helplessly. “He was the nicest guy to ever hold a gun to my head. I felt kind of bad for him.”
He can see Matt’s eyes widen behind the glasses.
“He held a gun to your head?” Foggy shrugs again, a little uncomfortable.
“Well, yeah. I mean, if it had just been a knife I would have objected little more strongly.” Matt’s lips thin.
“And that was earlier this year? When?”
“Uh, like seven months? He was one of the ones in the Saints’ Street case, if you remember that.” It had been a real clusterfuck for the police, Foggy remembers. A whole warehouse full of gangsters taken down in a single night, not a single bullet hole or knife wound among them and surrounded by illegal guns and counterfeit money. Nothing stolen, a couple dozen goons left behind and a couple big players. They'd been babbling about the Devil the whole time the police were cuffing them, and Foggy had never seen suspects so eager to go into custody.
They'd never found out who did it.
“I do remember that.” Matt says quietly, pensive. “I was working that night, but I heard about it on the radio later.” Foggy nods, grimacing.
“Yeah, so. Justice was served, I guess.” He fiddles with the milk steamer. “You want another mocha, or something else?”
Matt looks like he wants to keep asking questions, but he seems to realize that Foggy doesn’t and so he smiles instead, expression still a little distracted.
“You decide. I trust you.” Foggy laughs at that, shaking his head.
“You have a death wish, buddy.” Matt’s smile widens, but he says nothing. “Okay, I think tonight you look like you need a… Chai, I think. Extra sweet.”
Matt nods agreeably, picking up a napkin and shredding at the corners with his fingers.
“You know, no one’s ever actually robbed me?” Matt muses, and Foggy can’t help but stare at him a little incredulously.
“Seriously? I mean this in the nicest way, man, but you’re a blind man walking around alone, after dark, in a suit and tie. How am I more of a target than you?” He considers Matt for a second. “You’re literally beating them off with a stick, aren’t you?” He nods towards Matt’s cane, and the man laughs, a light, happy sound.
“Maybe I just look tougher than you.” He suggests easily. Foggy huffs.
“No, no way. I’ll have you know that I am ruggedly handsome and understatedly imposing in an entirely attractive way. Like, think Irish Superman.”
“Can you be understatedly imposing?” Matt wonders. “Isn’t that kind of an oxymoron?”
“See? I break the laws of language and grammar. I am that awesome.” Matt laughs again, open and easy. It’s a nice sound, so Foggy gracefully ignores the fact that Matt’s laughing at him. In any case, Matt doesn’t sound like he’s laughing in a mean way. He sounds like a kid who just heard a really good joke, sort of giggly and exuberant. It’s kind of adorable.
“Irish Superman, huh?” Matt repeats, still chuckling to himself. “And I’m Batman.”
“I really, really want to make a joke about bats and blindness. Will you punch me if I make a joke about bats and blindness?” Matt shakes his head, grinning. “Okay, so we’re Superspud and Blind-As-A-Batman.”
“That’s horrible.” Matt groans, covering his face, but he’s still laughing when Foggy finishes up the Chai and makes his little drawing on the top.
“It’s wonderful and you know it. Here, drink up Bat-Matt.” He pushes the cup, the red one that Matt used the last time he was here, towards him. “I drew a bat this time, in case you were wondering.” He peers into the cup. “Well, maybe the artist formerly known as Bat, and currently known as Roadkill.” Matt snorts and takes the cup, tilting it this way and that as though he’s trying to find the missing bat, which is unlikely to happen for several reasons.
“This is one of the few times I might actually be grateful for being blind.” He muses, and takes a sip.
“Rude.” Foggy scolds him, but he’s smiling. Matt smirks and takes another sip.
Matt comes by again, and again. There’s no real rhyme or reason in his visits, Matt usually claiming that he just happened to be in the neighborhood and felt like coffee. The only thing that always stays the same about his visits is that he always visits after dark.
“So, not that I don’t appreciate our nightcaps, but I’m just curious here: are you actually a vampire? Because I have yet to see you in sunlight, and you’re kind of unfairly pretty. That seems to be a hallmark of modern-day vampires.” Matt blinks, looking up from his latte for a moment before grinning disarmingly.
“You think I’m pretty?” He asks, batting his eyes, and Foggy rolls his eyes.
“Yes, Murdock, you are a shining specimen of the male form. I cannot be the first person to tell you this.” Matt shrugs, smile softening a little.
“Well, no, but you actually know me.”
“Oh.” That’s actually sort of sad. “Nope, sorry, not buying it. You are ludicrously charming. I feel like the more people are exposed to you, the more attractive you look. Your attractiveness grows like a fungus on the poor, unsuspecting folk around you.”
That surprises a laugh out of Matt.
“So I’m a fungus? That might be the sweetest thing anyone’s ever said to me.”
“You’re not the only one who’s ludicrously charming.” Foggy tells him primly, taking a sip of his own strawberry tea. “I’ve made a career of it, my friend.” Matt nods comfortably.
“You’re probably the best barista I’ve ever met.” He agrees, and Foggy shakes his head.
“No, I mean—well, yeah, I’m pretty great, thanks for noticing, but I meant as a lawyer.”
Matt freezes, cup poised halfway to his lips.
“You’re a lawyer?” He asks, voice odd. He puts his cup down very gently on the counter, fingers tapping idly along the handle. “You never told me that.”
“Huh, really?” Foggy thinks back. Now that he thinks about it, it had never come up. He’d just sort of assumed Matt knew, because after such a short time it feels like Matt knows pretty much everything about him. “Yeah, Columbia. I graduated last year.”
“And yet you’re here making me coffee after hours. The economy’s not that bad, is it?” Foggy swats at him. He’d tried not to do things like that for a while after he met Matt, not wanting to startle the guy, but Foggy’s tactile by nature and he kept finding himself reaching out before he could notice. Matt had never said a word, and he’d never seemed surprised by the touches either. He even touches back now, putting a hand on Foggy’s shoulder when he says goodbye, brushing their fingers together when Foggy hands him his cup (the red cup, after five or six of their late nights, has been put to the side and declared the Matt Mug).
It makes Foggy a little squirrelly, considering he’s still peripherally aware at all times of how insanely hot Matt is, but it’s also nice. Matt trusts him enough to relax around him; Foggy thinks that’s got to be tough.
“Okay, firstly? Being a barista is a perfectly valid life choice, not just a backup plan when your other life goals fall through. Secondly, I happen to have received more than one very nice internship offer, but I’m taking a break to look after the shop. The Avocado isn’t going to run itself, you know.”
“I thought it was called the Avocator.” Matt points out, and Foggy nods.
“Well, yeah, but I couldn’t say that when I was a kid and I thought guacamole was the best food ever, so. It sort of stuck.”
“The Avocado.” Matt murmurs to himself, lips turning up in a brief smile. “I like it.” He pauses. “So if it’s not your shop, whose is it?” Matt asks curiously.
“My mom’s. But she and Dad decided to celebrate their fortieth anniversary by running off to Africa, apparently to ‘find’ themselves by getting lost on safari.” He chuckles. “They call me at one in the morning, maybe a week after I get my diploma, and they tell me that they love me lots, would I mind watching the store for a while, and by the by they might have forgotten to lock the doors so I might want to go check on that.” He gestures to the room around them. “They left the keys in the lock, actually—it’s a wonder we weren’t robbed blind.”
Matt laughs too, but it tapers off a little too quickly.
“So you’ll be leaving, then, when they come back?” He sounds a little hesitant, and Foggy might be imagining it, but maybe a little upset. “Going to take up one of those internships?” Foggy frowns. Actually, he hadn’t thought about what he was going to do after this, not lately. When he’d first started, he’d been planning way out into the future, where to work and how long it would take to pay off his loans, get a nice apartment, make everything fall neatly into place, but now…
“I suppose. I sort of like it here.” He admits. “There are no sharks circling me and nipping at my toes. And by sharks I mean the rest of my graduating class. Carnivores, the lot of them.” He thinks of Marci and shivers. Great girl, great friend, but absolutely terrifying both in and out of the courtroom.
“You don’t seem like a shark.” Matt tells him, lips pressed in something not quite a smile and not quite a frown. Foggy huffs in agreement.
“Which was exactly the problem. I was the spunky, underdog protagonist and most of my classmates were zombies, killed by a lethal amount of studying and reborn with an insatiable desire for brains they didn’t have.” He gestures to himself. “To them, I was a buffet. And I say that in the humblest way.”
“I can tell.” Matt says, smiling turning up once again. “But you like it? Law?” Foggy smiles a little sheepishly.
“Well, yeah. I got into it because it sounded sort of like being a superhero—I was pretty obsessed with comic books when I was a kid, total nerd all the way. And I liked the idea of being able to say or do the right thing, and catch the bad guys. It was either be a lawyer or a cop, but I wasn’t really fond on the whole running around catching them and dodging bullets part. I’d rather stick to the bit where they’re already in handcuffs and all I have to do is keep them there. Well, I did rather…” Matt hums encouragingly. “So there was this case in law school. This family got murdered—mom, dad, a couple kids—and this one guy got arrested. He looked good for it, no alibi, sent out a creepy vibe, no friends or family to back him up. And he got convicted, died in prison less than a year later because they don’t really like child-killers there. Only, he wasn’t a child-killer.”
“You don’t think he did it?” Matt asks, intrigued. Foggy shakes his head.
“I’m sure of it. See, for some reason it stuck with me, so I looked at the newspaper archive for the times, asked questions, did some digging. I found out that there had been four other murders just like it, same MO and victimology as the last one, only the first three had been committed in urban neighborhoods.”
“Ah.” Matt says, and Foggy knows he understands.
“So, the police look into it, just another homicide, but this last family was rich as sin, and suddenly the police needed a suspect fast.”
“A scapegoat.” Matt murmurs, and Foggy nods.
“The guy didn’t have a spot on his record. He was just weird, different, and that made him as good as guilty. His lawyer was court-appointed, and you could tell he was doing a half-assed job, already knew the way the wind was blowing. The jury took less than an hour.” He sighs shakily. “And I thought, if I’d been there, I’d have helped. I’d have tried to, anyway.”
He startles when he feels Matt's hand cover his own, warm and dry and sure. Foggy looks up, still caught up in his memories. The look on Matt’s face is soft, and fond, and somehow a little… awed, Foggy might say if pressed. Impressed, at least.
“So you became a defense attorney.” Foggy smiles down wryly into his cup.
“So I became a defense attorney. Of course, I haven’t actually defended anyone yet. My internships were all corporate, which is one of the reasons I didn’t feel too bad turning them down. It’s not what I wanted, you know?” Matt considers him, tilting his head.
“Why did you apply if you knew you didn’t want to do them?” Foggy grins a little exasperatedly.
“I didn’t. Marci did.” Matt makes an inquisitive sound. “Marci Stahl. Now, she is a shark, and she had more brains than the rest of us put together. For some reason, she also decided that I made the perfect pet. She kept me fed and watered during school, took me for walks, and submitted my resume to about a dozen of the most prestigious law firms in New York. I still don’t know what lies she wrote on them, but somehow I got the offers.”
“She didn’t ask you?” Matt sounds both amused and a little offended on Foggy’s behalf, which is warming.
“Marci is the sort of person who prefers asking for forgiveness than permission. Actually, that’s a lie—she’s not the sort of person who asks for either.” He shrugs. “But she’s actually pretty nice if you can get past the fact that she can and will take out your eye with one of her stiletto heels if you look at her wrong.”
Matt leans his chin on one hand, smile wistful.
“She sounds unique.” He offers neutrally. “So, how long have you guys been together?”
“Wha—together?” Foggy splutters, reeling back and holding up his hands as though to ward off the very thought. “No, no, not together. Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt. Never again.”
“It ended badly?” Matt asks sympathetically, raising his head and putting both elbows on the table so he can lean forward. Foggy considers.
“I mean, not horribly. We’re still friends, you know? But it was pretty clear that we were just not going to work out, ever. She’s a shark and I’m a tasty minnow with a big heart. It just was not meant to be.”
“Well, I’m sorry it didn’t work out, but it’s better to know these things sooner rather than later, I suppose. This way there’s still a chance for you to meet your soul minnow.” Foggy grins at him.
“Soul minnow, I like that. Plenty of fish in the sea, but only one soul minnow.”
“You’re a dork, you know that?” Foggy swats at him again, gentling the blow before it can connect so it’s more a brush than anything. Matt may be comfortable around him and his touches, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to take the guy by surprise and sock him off his chair.
“You started it.” He retorts, somewhat childishly. He takes another sip of his tea before a thought strikes him. “So, we’ve been spending this whole time talking about my love life, or lack thereof. What about yours?”
Matt goes quiet, looking down in the direction of his cup. He’s still smiling, but it seems a little bittersweet.
“I don’t really have a love life. Or any sort of social life, actually. I’ve never… I’m great at making acquaintances, but not so good at making friends.”
Foggy thinks about the fact that Matt has never, not once in all the time they’ve spent together, mentioned anyone in his life. No ‘my cousin said’ or ‘my aunt baked’ or ‘my girlfriend called’. Nothing. Foggy had always just assumed that Matt was a private person, which Foggy could respect although it’s not the lifestyle he’d choose. But if Matt’s saying what Foggy thinks he is, then Matt doesn’t mention anyone in his life because he doesn’t have anyone in his life.
“So, this is going to sound cheesy and probably a little weird considering we’ve only known each other a few weeks, but I think you might actually be the best friend I’ve ever had.” Matt looks blindsided—heh—by this confession, physically moving back in his chair like he's been struck.
“Really?” He asks, voice too loud on the first syllable and too quiet on the second. Both are shot through with enough uncertainty to make Foggy’s heart ache.
“Absolutely. You, Matt Murdock, are Best Friend material. You heard it here first.” Foggy bumps Matt’s shoulder lightly with his fist. “So apparently you're better at making friends than you thought, if you’ve already conned me. I’m a pretty tough customer, you know, not an easy sell.”
Matt rubs at his shoulder (like Foggy actually hit him hard enough to hurt, the diva), but he’s giving that shy, goofy smile that he gave Foggy the night they met, even bigger than before and crinkling the corners of his eyes invitingly. He looks so delighted--and so surprised at being delighted--that Foggy really wants to give him a hug and a noogie and maybe a kiss or ten.
“You’re…” His voice is a little shaky. He clears his throat and tries again. “You’re my best friend too.”
He says it so seriously, with such weight. It sounds like a vow, like something he’s swearing to in court. Now that Foggy thinks about it, he’d sounded that way too. He thinks maybe Matt’s with him on this, on this strange connection that’s getting stronger between them every day, this weird feeling of rightness when they’re together, like two puzzle pieces clicking into place.
It’s both amazing and terrifying, because Foggy’s never felt anything like this before and he’s not sure that it won’t kill him one day, when it gets too big and he bursts from it.
“So, I guess we’re both cheesy and a little weird.” Foggy tells him, and Matt grins, the strangely heavy atmosphere melting away into something warmer and lighter but no less intense. Every moment with Matt is intense, an adrenaline rush and a tranquilizer all at once.
“Well, we already knew that.” Matt says, and Foggy laughs.
“That, Matty, deserves a toast! To cheesy weirdoes! Not just a snack food anymore!”
He pours them both another drink, and when they toast they miss a little and get coffee and tea all over the counter, and Foggy doesn’t even care that it’s going to take forever to clean the sticky surface later.
Neither one can stop smiling.
Matt actually comes in one day when the shop is still officially open. Actually, he comes in around the noon rush hour, and Foggy sees him open the door and then sort of stumble into the wave of sound and the crush of bodies.
“Right, hold on. Coffee break.” He apologizes to the rather harried man in a three-piece suit waiting for his redeye.
“Seriously?” He complains loudly after Foggy, who is hurrying towards Matt.
“I work in a coffee shop. I am passionate about coffee. And when the coffee calls to me, I must answer.” He calls over his shoulder. “Back in five minutes!”
He reaches Matt, who is just swaying there and looking sort of like he’s blown a circuit, and tows him away from the noise, into the back room. He gets Matt settled on the ratty but still rather cozy couch before the man seems to come back to himself, slowly raising his face in Foggy’s direction. Foggy watches him, hands on his hips.
“Well, now I get why you only come by when everyone else is gone. Jesus, Matt, what were you thinking?” Matt turns his face back down towards his hands, fiddling with them in his lap.
“I didn’t think it would be that bad.” He admits quietly. “You said that you wanted to see me when the sun was up.” He adds, even quieter, like he’s ashamed. Foggy runs his fingers through his hair in frustration.
“I was joking, you goof! If you’ll remember, I was accusing you of being a vampire at the time, which is not something I usually do in earnest.” Matt ducks his head, chastened.
He looks a little forlorn there, sitting hunched on the droopy couch and literally twiddling his thumbs. Foggy can’t really find it in him to stay mad, especially since the reason he was mad in the first place is because he was worried about Matt. Being mad will just make it worse.
He sighs, walking over to the couch and nudging the cushion next to Matt in question. Matt nods, still not turning towards him, and Foggy settles in beside him.
“I really appreciate the gesture, Matt. It was really sweet of you. But I was just teasing. I like seeing you anytime, day or night. And if night’s what’s better for you, then that’s what we’ll do. It’s worked out so far, right?” Matt nods again, still looking miserable.
“I don’t like making you stay late. You must be tired.” He confesses. Foggy shakes his head, hesitates, and then nods.
“Well, yeah, I’m usually pretty beat, but spending time with you makes me feel better, if anything. And you know, if you feel bad about the time, I can close up an hour or two early.” He waves off the beginning of Matt’s protest, even though the man can’t see it. He’s never stopped emoting around Matt; he feels like even though Matt can’t see the gestures, he seems to know they’re there and appreciate them. “No, seriously. No one usually comes by that late anyway. I’d probably have cut down the hours earlier, but I wasn’t sure when you’d pop up and I didn’t want you to show up to a locked door and an empty shop. But if we’re actually planning our evenings…”
“You kept the shop open for me?” Matt breathes, and the innocent wonderment of it is gut-wrenching. Foggy shrugs, discomfited at being caught out. He actually hadn’t planned on mentioning that part, since it was a little pathetic, sitting there in an empty café hoping for Matt to come wandering in.
“Well, yeah. I mean… yeah.” Foggy brushes off the embarrassing admission. “But now we can go out and do things instead! Like, dinner-and-a-movie nights.” He’s read up on movies that have extra audio for the blind, and he might have downloaded one or twenty of his favorites onto his laptop in the hope that he might one day get a chance to watch them with Matt.
“I’d like that.” Matt tells him earnestly, and leans forward to say something else when that bastard up front decides that Foggy’s five minutes is up two minutes early and shouts towards the back room,
“Hey, paying customer here! I have a meeting in ten minutes and I’m going to be late!”
“So why don’t you skip the damn coffee and get your ass to the office? Dumb caffeine junkie.” Foggy mutters mutinously. When he glances down at Matt, he finds the man hunched over once again, hands twitching up like he wants to put them over his ears but doesn’t want to do it when Foggy’s watching. Foggy sighs, tapping him on his knees to get his attention.
“Okay, I have to wade back into the fray. Two options: one, I smuggle you out and you come back a couple hours later when I’ve finally kicked my delightful customers to the curb; or two, I let you borrow my very nifty noise-canceling headphones and you can hide out here until I’m done. Preference?”
Matt blinks up at him.
“Headphones?” He says, and Foggy’s not quite sure if that means he wants to use the headphones or if he’s just trying to figure out what Foggy means, so he scurries over to his bag and pulls them out.
They’d cost a pretty penny, but it had been necessary to get any studying done during the party nights on campus. He hadn’t been able to hear a thing with them on. He’s not sure if it’ll be the same with Matt—if today’s proven anything, it’s that Matt’s hearing must be off the charts to compensate for his vision—but he’s betting it can’t hurt.
He presses them into Matt’s hands gently. Matt takes them just as carefully, turning them over in his hands and running fingers along the edges and pads.
“They’re the expensive kind.” He contemplates, like he can tell the price of headphones simply by touching them. Maybe he can. “They’re very good quality.” Foggy nods the point, because they'd been worth every pretty penny he'd paid for them.
“So, is that a yay or a nay for the headphones option? I would just like to point out for further consideration that you look dead on your feet, man. A nap could only do you good.” Matt smiles, rubbing the back of his neck sheepishly.
“I’m more of a night owl, really, and yesterday was busier than normal. I’d be sleeping right now, usually.”
Foggy throws up his hands in frustration.
“Yet another reason that this was a spectacularly bad—although, once again, also spectacularly sweet—idea. Okay, you know what, do those work for you?” Foggy gestures towards the headphones and Matt seems to understand, because he nods without further prompting. “Right. Executive decision, you are taking a nap. Put on the headphones, I have an afghan around here somewhere because I am all about comfort—ah!” He grabs it, a horrendously ugly thing he made during his knitting phase back in high school, but it’s warm and soft, and he likes to think that its lumpy, lopsided form has character.
He brings it back over the Matt, who is still turning over the headphones in his hands.
“Those work better on your ears, Matty.” He informs Matt dryly, and Matt huffs a laugh and pulls them up and over.
“You need anything else?” He asks, before he realizes that with the phones on Matt probably can’t hear a word he says.
“No, this is great.” Matt tells him, and Foggy does a double take.
“You can still hear me?” Matt nods absently. “The headphones aren’t broken, are they?” Matt shakes his head.
“No, they’re fine. My hearing is a little stronger than yours, is all. They can’t block out the noise, but they can muffle it to something I can handle. I can only pick you up so easily because you’re… close by.” It sounds like that wasn’t what he was actually going to finish that thought with, but Foggy decides that Matt’s probably not up to a grilling right now and puts his question on the back-burner.
“Will they work okay? I can still just lead you out. Hell, I can close up early if you want. Mr. Redeye and his manners do not deserve my delicious elixirs.”
Matt shakes his head again.
“No, it’s fine. I should be able to handle it with these. Just wake me up when you’re ready to go.”
“If you’re sure.” Foggy demurs. He brushes the afghan over Matt’s knees before dropping it on top of him. Matt hums, pulling it up around his shoulders and leaning back against the armrest of the couch.
“’S soft.” He says, rubbing a cheek against the fabric. “Nice.” Foggy feels a stab of pride at that, and also one of affection because Matt looks kind of like a kitten nuzzling a ball of yarn.
“Thank you. That’s why I picked the material, although let me tell you, it is a very ugly blanket. It looks sort of like a rainbow threw up on a sheep.” Matt snorts out a laugh, snuggling further under the blanket.
“Adds character.” He defends, just as Foggy had done earlier in his head. “You should knit more.”
“My knitting teacher would disagree with you.” Foggy tells him dryly. “But I value your opinion more than hers.”
“Good.” Matt says decisively, eyes already drifting closed. Foggy taps gently at his shoulder.
“Glasses, Matt.” He orders gently. Matt tenses for a moment, and Foggy thinks he’s going to say no. He’s sure he’s going to say no.
Foggy’s never actually seen Matt without his glasses. They’re pretty cool glasses, dark red lenses set in circular wire frames. Very few people would be able to pull them off, but Matt’s one of the few. Still, as nice as they are, he’s willing to bet his life savings that Matt’s eyes are nicer.
For some reason, even though Matt is completely unselfconscious about every other aspect of his blindness, the glasses thing seems to be the exception in a big way. Foggy thinks he might have gotten some shit about it as a kid or something, because it seems pretty deeply ingrained that no glasses equals bad.
And Foggy gets that. God knows he’s self-conscious about his appearance in a lot of ways (courtesy of the wonders of childhood bullying). It’s just, Matt has absolutely no reason to feel self-conscious, at all but especially around Foggy. Foggy is pretty sure he’ll love Matt’s eyes as much as he loves the rest of Matt.
…Which is, like the friends thing, way too early to be talking—or thinking—about.
He steels himself for rejection, which is why it takes him a moment to realize that the reason Matt isn’t answering is because he’s reaching up and taking the glasses off.
He doesn’t even cop out and keep his eyes closed. He keeps them open and wide and up towards Foggy, and Foggy would swear that Matt’s looking at him. He’d swear it, and it sends a shiver down his spine because Matt looks closer than anyone Foggy’s ever met, even though he shouldn’t be able to look at all.
Foggy had, on the embarrassing number of times in the past he’d daydreamed about Matt, assumed that the guy would have brown eyes. Dark brown, rich and warm like coffee. Maybe a little amber thrown in there for an exotic flair. They’d the lovely, and perfect, but they’d still be brown and Foggy’s heart could handle something simple like brown.
Matt’s eyes are not brown.
“Wow.” Foggy says before he can stop himself. Matt frowns and reaches for his glasses. “No, no, don’t!” Foggy says, scrambling forward. It’s probably a sin to steal a blind guy’s glasses, but Foggy does it anyway. Matt grabs after them, frown deepening and hurt blossoming on his face.
“I know they tend to freak people out. That’s why I didn’t, before.” He says softly, still reaching for the frames. “It’s alright, Foggy.”
“No, it is not okay. It is not okay that you think there’s something freaky about your eyes, or that some assholes told you there was something freaky about your eyes.” Foggy kind of wants to punch every one of those assholes out. Hard. “That was a good ‘wow’, Matty. The best ‘wow’.”
Matt hesitates, hands still suspended in the air but no longer grasping for his glasses.
“Really?” He asks, unsurely. “You don’t have to say that.” Foggy huffs, putting the glasses down on the low table in front of the couch. Matt can still grab them, but Foggy’s hoping he can change his mind before Matt decides to.
“I’m not just saying it. Well, I am saying it, but not because I have to.” Foggy takes a deep breath, gathering his thoughts. “Look, as incredibly creepy as this sounds, I think your eyes are really, really…” He searches for a less flowery word and comes up empty, “Beautiful.”
Matt blinks up at him, and Foggy can finally see exactly what that looks like without tinted glass in the way. Matt tilts his head just a little when he blinks, and the change in light makes his eyes brighten and shade as he moves. It’s sort of breathtaking, and Foggy has one awful moment where he considers ‘accidentally’ stepping on the glasses on the way out, because he never wants to not see Matt’s eyes again. But that would be a total dick thing to do, so he abstains.
“I don’t… I remember what they looked like when I was a kid. They were pretty normal, Foggy.” Matt tells him dryly. “I doubt they’ve changed that much.”
“Well, either they have or you were a dumb kid.” Foggy tells him bluntly, and that startles a little exasperated smile out of Matt. “Matt, seriously, they’re great. I’ve never seen that color before.” He stops, cursing himself. Trying to convince Matt how awesome his eyes are based on color probably isn’t the way to go. Still, Matt doesn’t seem angry. If anything, he looks a little wistful.
“What color are they?” He asks quietly, and when Foggy flounders, he reminds him gently, “I remember colors, Foggy. I’ll understand. And I’d… I’d like to know. What you see.”
“Right, okay.” Foggy blows out a breath, trying to calm his ridiculous bout of nerves. Foggy’s never really considered himself a poet, but he definitely knows how to talk. He’s got the gift of gab in spades, and a healthy imagination and vocabulary to augment it. He can do this; he just needs to find the right words.
“So, when I first saw them, I thought they were like the sea-glass you find on the shore, the ones that are smoky and green and blue all at once. Then, when you tilted your head, I saw some really light brown, sort of tawny. And the blue isn’t quite as there, but the green gets brighter when the light hits it right. Right now they look kind of… mossy? Like, this really earthy green that’s struck through with warm brown and something a little lighter, almost gold. They’re… really beautiful.”
It takes him a moment to realize that Matt’s crying.
“Whoa, hey, no. Sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you! Do you not like moss?”
Matt laughs wetly, reaching up to rub at his damp cheeks.
“I love moss.” He says, somewhat nonsensically because no one loves moss. They’re ambivalent towards it at best. “I just… I felt like I could see, when you were talking. I could see what you were seeing, and it was beautiful. Thank you.”
He sounds a little choked up, and Foggy’s not far behind.
“Anytime.” He says faintly, and realizes he means it. “Really, if you ever want to know, just ask me. I’ll talk your ear off until you can see what I’m seeing, every time.”
He yelps when he finds his shirt collar being grabbed in a surprisingly strong hold, yanking him down and into Matt’s arms. He’s sort of awkwardly crouched over the little table, and he bumped his knees and thinks they’ll probably bruise later, and Matt is still all tear-damp and rumpled and he hugs a little too tightly (damn, he has a grip) and lopsided, like he’s not quite sure where his hands go.
It’s the best hug Foggy ever had.
“Thank you.” Matt whispers again, breath teasing over Foggy’s ear and making him shiver a little. He hopes Matt doesn’t notice. “Thank you.”
Foggy hugs him back until his back starts to ache from staying in the half-bent position for so long. As though Matt can sense that Foggy’s muscles are beginning to protest, he lets Foggy go. Not to be outdone, Foggy gives him one last squeeze before letting go and straightening. His spine cracks as he does, and he winces but does not regret it one bit.
“Well, now that we’ve bared our souls and I’ve probably irrevocably alienated one of my least favorite customers with well-deserved neglect, I guess I’ll head back out. More customers to alienate the old-fashioned way.” Matt chuckles, only a little damply. “You want anything to drink? I think we have Sleepy Time tea.”
“No, I won’t need it.” To punctuate his statement, Matt yawns, snuggling down more comfortably against the sofa. “You go on and save the world, one macchiato at a time.”
“Go to sleep, nerd.”
Foggy ducks out the room, grinning. His customers give him a few odd looks when he keeps on grinning straight through the afternoon, but he ignores them.
He keeps thinking of Matt, wrapped up in Foggy’s ugly rainbow afghan and fast asleep with a smile on his face, and he just can’t stop beaming.
After the unfortunate experience during the noon rush, Matt goes back to his nighttime visits. Foggy does close up an hour early, and Matt helps him clean up despite Foggy’s protests that it’s not his job (Matt says that it’ll make the job go quicker and give them more time to spend together, and that’s an argument that Foggy can’t win).
Sometimes they go back to Foggy’s apartment. Matt is stunned and delighted to discover Foggy’s growing collection of audio-augmented movies, and they find that they have very similar tastes (another point for the destined-to-be-besties theory) in films.
They order in Chinese some nights and steal out of each other’s cartons without asking, and other nights they order pizza and fight over the last piece. Foggy gets Braille playing cards and gets slaughtered by Matt in poker (it’s impossible to tell when the man is lying), and proceeds to cream him in Uno. They make a unanimous decision not to play Blackjack because they both count cards.
Matt prefers Foggy’s apartment to his own, although he never outright says it. It takes Foggy two months to finagle a way in, and he can immediately see why the guy’s not super fond of it. It’s actually pretty swanky, probably costs more than Foggy’s place does, but the walls are bare and the kitchen is brushed chrome steel, and there are no personal effects of any kind. Foggy gets the no picture thing, but there’s nothing—no houseplants, no funny potholders, no weird conversation piece sculptures. There’s a bookshelf in the bedroom that is full of Braille books, but in Foggy’s opinion there are not nearly enough books there to make up for the rest of the lifeless apartment.
There’s also a very obnoxious billboard right across the street that makes Matt’s apartment light up like a rave every night. Matt says it doesn’t bother him—for obvious reasons—but Foggy is unimpressed.
“Yeah, you can’t see it, but can’t you, I don’t know… hear it? I mean, those things buzz when they’re on, right? Like, electrical currents.”
Matt pauses, wine bottle poised above his glass.
“Yes.” He says slowly. “I can. Most people don’t think of that.”
“Come on, Matty. I am not most people.” Foggy reminds him, turning back to look at the sign. “It is annoying, or more like white noise?”
Matt puts the bottle down, going to join Foggy at the window. His expression is distant, remote.
“I’m used to it. It would probably throw me off balance if it was gone.”
“That’s not the same as liking it.” Foggy points out, and Matt turns to look at him, features still melancholy.
“No, it’s not.” He agrees quietly. He pauses, licks his lips. “To tell the truth, I hate it.” He says it with a vicious sort of vehemence, like he’s talking about a particularly awful person rather than a thing. It’s a complete turn-around from his absent serenity of a moment ago. “I hate it, but I need it there. To remind me.”
“Remind you of what?” Foggy whispers, and he wants to reach out but Matt looks taut as a bowstring and Foggy worries if he touches him, Matt might snap. His fingers twitch at his side as he squashes the urge. Matt smiles, but it’s nothing like what a smile should be; it’s jagged and jaded and there’s not a hint of Matt’s wonderful laugh in the corners. He turns back towards the sign.
“That there are things out there that I can’t change, no matter how much I want to.”
The anger is gone as quickly as it came, leaving behind a deflated, beaten sort of weariness. This time, Foggy can’t resist. He reaches out and takes Matt’s hand, tangling their fingers together. Matt stiffens for a moment, shoulders rigid, but Foggy refuses to pull away no matter how much Matt wants him to.
After a moment, Matt’s fingers curl tentatively over his.
“Let’s take a walk.” He says. Let me get you as far away as I can from this place, which is apparently one large monument to your masochistic tendencies, he doesn’t say.
Matt doesn’t say anything at all, but he lets Foggy lead him away. Foggy spares one more glance at the sign, which has shifted from electric blue to vivid crimson. It hits the white walls of Matt’s apartment and magnifies, bathing the whole place in bloody, burning red.
It looks like they’re walking through Hell.
Foggy walks faster.
They were going to order dinner, but there’s no way Foggy’s letting Matt back into his apartment any sooner than he has to and Foggy’s apartment is a little too far to walk back to this late. Besides, Foggy’s stomach is growling and if he can hear it, Matt definitely can.
He buys them the closest food he can find, which turns out to be toasted nuts covered in cinnamon and sugar. It’s not exactly the healthiest meal, but it smells delicious and Foggy would probably eat an old shoe at this point, which is probably an even less healthy meal.
Matt hums in thanks and takes the offered bag. It’s only as Foggy turns them towards a bench that he realizes that Matt hasn’t let go of him the whole time. Touching while Foggy was leading them out makes sense, sure, although he’d bet good money that Matt knows the layout of his building cold. But he’d had his hand settled in the crook of Foggy’s arm the whole time Foggy had been buying the nuts, and once they’re settled in Matt sits close enough that their knees press together. It’s probably a little closer than most people would be comfortable with.
Foggy shifts a little so that their shoulders touch too. Matt smiles down into his wax cone and Foggy smiles a little goofily at Matt before remembering that he’s supposed to be eating, and Matt will probably get suspicious if he doesn’t hear chewing sounds pretty soon.
Matt stays pretty quiet while they eat, still a little withdrawn. Foggy thinks he’s still thinking about his hellhole of an apartment, so he decides to do what he does best and babble until the problem goes away.
Matt likes it when Foggy describes things to him. It had become a habit after he’d tried to explain to Matt what his eyes looked like, and it’s one they’ve both come to enjoy. Foggy will never tell Matt, but he’d actually bought himself the mega box of Crayola Crayons and spent an indecent amount of time memorizing the colors to help Matt get a better picture.
Foggy starts with describing the park. He talks about the cracks in the sidewalk and the graffiti on the park bench and the ducks that are bullying each other for breadcrumbs out on the lake. Since it’s early evening, it’s pretty quiet out, most people either at home or too busy getting there to bother with chitchat—perfect for Matt.
“The sunset’s nice tonight.” He tells Matt. “It’s mahogany at the bottom, the kind that’s all polished and sort of glows red when the light hits it right. The red fades into a burnt sienna when it gets higher, and there are these little wisps of goldenrod around the edges, like a halo. Then it gets sort of red again, more pinkish—blush, I guess, pretty much the same color I get when a pretty girl talks to me. And then at the top, it’s this great violet color, but there’s some royal purple there too, and a little indigo at the very tip, like a crown. There are some clouds out, so the light hits those and it looks like ribbons of gold rippling through the whole thing.” He considers it for a moment. “You can see a few stars too, and Venus. I used to think Venus was this huge mega star, and I kept trying to make wishes on it. When my mom told me it was a planet, I was so bummed. All those nights spent bargaining for a Gameboy, and I was conning the wrong astral body.”
Matt laughs, and it’s breathy and bright and exactly what Foggy needs to hear to know that Matt’s okay. Or at least, that Matt will be okay.
“I remember praying like that.” He says, reminiscent. “I used to say: ‘If I get X, then I will Y’. I was very mercenary about it, too. Promised all kinds of things. I even put loopholes in, in case I got what I prayed for.”
“What did you pray for?” Foggy asks, and only realizes what a monumental mistake it is after he says it. Matt doesn’t crash again like Foggy expects though, still smiling even it’s softened with sadness. It’s a scabbed sort of sadness, like a wound that will never quite heal over but isn’t bleeding anymore.
“Mostly? For my dad to come back.” He says simply, and Foggy nods thickly. Matt’s told him about his old man, and it is not a happy story. Matt’s a fighter, though, just like his dad. He didn’t let it knock him down, even when Foggy knows how bad he must have been hurting. “Before that, I wanted to see again, but I haven’t prayed for that in a long time.”
“And now?” Foggy asks, hushed. “Do you still pray?”
“Every day.” Matt confesses. “I didn’t, for a while. I didn’t see the point. But lately… every day.”
Foggy knows that Matt is a staunch Catholic, in the way that means he constantly wants to do the right thing and beats himself up every time he thinks he doesn’t. He’s always struck Foggy as a man who is more likely to go to confession than pray a rosary. There’s a lot of guilt in Matt, for what Foggy can’t understand. If Matt’s started praying again, that means something’s changed. Foggy just hopes it’s a good something.
“If we’re being honest here?” Foggy offers wryly, “I still wish on stars, too. Now that I know where to aim, that is.”
Matt chuckles, crumpling his empty wax paper in his hands. Foggy upturns his own bag over his mouth, making sure to get all the little crunchy sugar bits left behind, and then he stands to throw their wrappers away. When he settles back down, he nudges Matt’s shoulder companionably, and Matt nudges him back immediately.
They sit for awhile in silence, and Foggy thinks maybe Matt wants to go home about as much as Foggy wants him to. Finally, Matt takes a deep breath. It is the universal sign that someone is about to say something important, even though they’re not quite sure they should.
“I want to touch your face.” He says, all at once and a little too loud in the quiet night air. The look on his face is one of sheer horror when Foggy turns to stare at him.
“Um.” Foggy says, because honestly he was not expecting that. “Come again?”
Matt groans, burying his face in his hands.
“That is not the way I was planning on asking.” He mutters, mostly to himself. “Sorry.” He says through his fingers in Foggy’s general direction. Foggy is still a little lost, but there’s no reason for Matt to be embarrassed about it.
“You don’t need to be sorry, I just… I don’t really understand?” He pokes an unresponsive Matt, still curled up like a hedgehog. “So you should explain it to me so I do.” He suggests firmly. Matt sighs, frustrated.
“You could tell me what you looked like, if I asked. You’d probably do a good job, too, better than most people. But, if I want to know what someone looks like, I need more than words. I need to… to map it out myself, build a picture in my head.” Foggy stares at him, a little surprised.
“So you want to touch my face to help you build a picture?” Matt nods into his hands. “Okay.”
Matt’s head whips up.
“Seriously?” He asks, astonished. Foggy nods easily.
“Sure. It actually sounds pretty cool.” He shrugs. “And I mean, I know what you look like. It’s only fair, right?”
Matt frowns a little, fingers tapping out a nervous rhythm on his thigh.
“Most people find it… invasive.” He explains slowly. “It can be a little unpleasant for them.” Foggy snorts.
“You mean some people find you copping a feel on their face weird?” Matt glares. “Okay, sorry. It’s fine. I think we’ll be fine. We’re pretty much touching all the time anyway.” He bumps their knees together companionably. Matt swallows hard.
“You really don’t mind?” He asks, fingers stopping their tapping and lifting a little towards Foggy. Matt really wants to do this, Foggy realizes. He might have wanted to do it for a while, and he’s been holding himself back because he was worried he’d upset Foggy.
“Honestly, you seem a little more freaked out about it than I do.” He points out. Matt bites his lip uncertainly.
“Like I said, a lot of people don’t like it.” He says uneasily. “I don’t want to make you uncomfortable.” When Foggy opens his mouth to argue, Matt adds on hurriedly, “And it can take awhile, to get a good picture. You’d have to stay still for a few minutes, probably. Even if you don’t mind the initial touch, the prolonged contact can feel a little peculiar. Most people want me to stop after about a minute.”
“But you said you needed more than one to get a good picture.” Matt shrugs. “Seriously? These people chicken out halfway through? Pathetic.”
“You see what I mean though, right? I don’t want to put you in a position like that.” He smiles bracingly, not even looking halfway sincere. “Besides, I already said you’re good with words. I can probably get a good idea without touching you.”
He’s backpedaling like a master, and Foggy almost wants to let him get away with it. This is clearly a sensitive subject with Matt, and it sounds like he’s gotten burned before. Still, it’s not something that Matt should feel guilty about asking. It’s a perfectly natural and logical thing to want.
Plus, Foggy suddenly realizes that he really, really wants Matt to know what he looks like.
“I have an idea.” Foggy tells him carefully. “And you can say no, okay?”
“Alright.” Matt says warily. “What’s your idea?”
“Okay.” Foggy bounces to his feet and moves so that he’s standing in front of Matt. Matt must hear him moving, because he looks up, expression fondly bemused. When Foggy drops to his knees in front of him, that fond bemusement dissolves into pure shock.
“What are you doing?” He hisses, grabbing at Foggy’s shirt and trying to pull him to his feet. Foggy remains stubbornly stationary, letting himself become dead weight when, once again, Matt proves to be much stronger than Foggy expected. “What if people are watching?”
“They aren’t.” Foggy tells him confidently. “I checked. And even if they were, I wouldn’t care. This isn’t something I’m embarrassed about doing.” Matt finally stops tugging, but keeps his hands tangled in Foggy’s shirt like he’s ready to start up again as soon as Foggy gives him a reason to. “Look, if we’re going to do this, it’ll be easier if you don’t have to twist yourself around like a pretzel to reach my face.”
Matt looks unconvinced, but interested.
“Yeah, I guess so. But even if you’re in front of me, that doesn’t change the fact that I don’t want to do this anymore. It was a stupid idea.”
“Yes, you do, and no, it wasn’t. Isn’t.” Foggy tells him bluntly. “But because you don’t seem to believe that I’m okay with this—hell, that I want to do this—I have an offer for you.” Matt tilts his head, a habit that is more and more adorable every time he does it. It makes him look like a curious baby duck, which sounds extremely odd, but it’s the only thing that fits. Baby duck face.
“I’m listening.” Matt says, sounding extremely guarded. Foggy’s hoping to fix that.
“While you’re touching my face, I’ll close my eyes and touch yours.”
“What?” Matt asks flatly, voice unreadable. He doesn’t even look surprised anymore, just blanked out. Like there’s so much going on his head that there’s no room left for it on his face.
“That way if it’s awkward, it’ll be awkward for both of us.” Foggy explains. “And I won’t get bored just sitting there while you work, because I won’t just be sitting there while you work.” Matt is completely unresponsive. Foggy decides it’s time to bring out the big guns: feelings. “And I want… I want to understand what it’s like for you. I know what your face looks like, but I don’t know what it feels like. I want to know if I can build a picture too.”
“Foggy…” Matt whispers, so soft Foggy has to strain to hear it, the sound almost carried away on the slight breeze. And there, there it is, Matt’s face is back online, and the sheer amount of hope, of gratitude, is both humbling and painful. Matt shouldn’t be grateful for this—Foggy’s being just as selfish as he is, which is not at all.
They sit in silence for another minute or two, neither moving. The world continues to darken around them; Foggy thinks soon he might not even have to close his eyes in order to be on the same footing as Matt.
“Are you going to--?” Matt finally asks, awkward, and Foggy chuckles softly.
“I need you to show me how.” He reminds Matt, and the man breathes out a short little bite of laughter. He’s still nervous, it’s clear; he doesn’t think this is going to go well, for either of them.
“Right. Just… stay still.” Matt orders, although it’s so tentative it sounds more like a question. Without waiting for an answer, he lifts his fingers up to Foggy’s face.
The first brush of fingertips tells Foggy three things immediately about Matt Murdock:
He has lived a hard life (callous-rough skin, a little scar on the tip of his left ring finger that must have hurt horribly at the time).
He is gentle (rough hands so careful, so tender, like Foggy’s made all over of blown glass and spider webs).
He is scared (fingers shaking, trembling as they light upon skin, light because he’s afraid he’ll push too hard).
Foggy knew all of these things before Matt touched him, but he didn’t feel them. Not like this.
“Glasses, Matt.” He rasps, and he mourns when the fingers fall away for a moment. Matt fumbles uncharacteristically, getting his glasses off, but he gets them tucked away in his pocket and then his fingers are back on Foggy’s face before Foggy has to say a word.
Okay. His turn.
He takes a deep breath, wipes his hands on his pants because he sweats when he’s nervous and he highly doubts Matt wants that all over his face. Then, with hands that are hopefully dry and clean enough, he reaches up. Matt is still as stone when Foggy presses his fingers where Matt pressed his, at the temples. He can feel a few flyaway strands of soft, dark hair brushing the sides of his knuckles, and has to resist an urge to take a detour and feel more of the silkiness there.
He closes his eyes. The darkness swallows the world, but he hears Matt and feels Matt so he's not afraid.
“You, you start at the hairline.” Matt says, voice rough. “You trace down, around the face to the chin, and then back up.” He starts dragging his fingers down, and Foggy fights a shiver as they brush tenderly over the rise of his cheekbones, down on each side until they cradle his jaw gently, so gently. The roughness of Matt’s skin rasps against the light stubble on Foggy’s face, and the feeling is unexpectedly pleasant.
Foggy decides to think later on just why that is so pleasant, and focuses instead on repeating the motions. Matt has a naturally smooth complexion, something Foggy envies him for, but the scars on his face, those aren’t natural at all. They’re little, feeling mostly like the thin silver ones that you can’t see unless you’re looking for them—or running your hands over them, feeling out all the ridges and grooves. He has more of them than Foggy would have thought; he knows Matt’s not clumsy, which means he probably got them in a fight.
“Did you get into a lot of fights as a kid?” He asks, and Matt tenses slightly. Foggy might not even have noticed if he didn’t have his fingers over Matt’s jaw when it clenched.
“Yes.” Matt says slowly, a somber note in his voice. “I was lucky my father taught me before… I never lost a fight, even the ones I didn’t pick.”
“Do you still fight?” Foggy asks, cautious. He wants to hear ‘no’. He wants to hear that Matt has no reason to have to defend himself anymore, that no one will try to hurt him.
“Only when I have to.” Matt assures him. “Not many people pick fights with me anymore.” There’s a note of wry humor in his voice, a dark comedy. Foggy considers this, and after a moment gives a little laugh.
“So, you actually did beat your muggers off with a stick, and now they’re all too scared to try.” He says, delighted, and Matt laughs with him.
“I said I was tougher than you.” Matt reminds him, and Foggy hums thoughtfully.
“Yeah, I guess you did.” He taps his fingers against Matt’s forehead, back to the start. “Now what?”
Matt’s still smiling; he can feel it in the pull of the skin under his fingers. Foggy thinks he’s beginning to relax, maybe realize that Foggy’s not going to flip out on him.
“This is the part that takes a while.” He warns. “There are no real rules about it. Everybody has a different way that works for them. The point is to get as much information as you can about the individual features, and then figure out how they work as a whole. How you do that is up to you.”
“Okay.” Foggy nods before remembering that he’s not supposed to move. “Sorry.” He feels Matt grinning, so he can’t be too mad.
Matt begins by tracing around Foggy’s eyes, and Foggy drags careful fingers down the bridge of Matt’s nose. Still, even though they start differently, Foggy finds that they soon find a rhythm between them, thoughts aligned on the best way to build a picture. Great minds think alike, Foggy supposes, or maybe this is more proof that he and Matt were meant to meet each other.
“Do you have freckles?” Matt asks, and Foggy hums a yes, carefully not nodding and throwing Matt’s hands off.
“Yeah, little ones. You don’t, if you’re wondering.” Matt smiles.
“Darn. I always liked freckles.”
And now Matt’s going to feel Foggy’s face getting hot under his hands thanks to his traitorous, blush-prone Irish complexion. Fantastic. Matt’s grin widens, Foggy can feel it, but he doesn’t tease Foggy, the merciful bastard. Foggy can tell he’s still laughing on the inside.
“And your eyes?”
“Blue.” Foggy says simply, and Matt taps one finger under his eye, right over the cheekbone.
“What kind of blue? Use your Crayola-ese.”
“I knew you knew about that. Bastard.” Foggy thinks back. “Uh, maybe sky blue? Or cornflower. Something light.”
“Blue. That’s what I imagined.” Matt muses proudly. “I knew they’d be blue.”
Foggy feels his face heat further. Matt’s thought about this before? Clearly, the guy would be thinking about what his new friend looked like, sure, but he sounds so… pleased, personally gratified, like he’s won a wonderful prize by knowing that Foggy has blue eyes.
“Good guess.” Foggy offers, and he realizes with horror that his voice is cracking. “Well, you already know what color your eyes are.” He never dares look at Matt’s eyes for too long; he knows Matt can’t see him, but somehow Matt will know anyway. Foggy’s sure of it.
“Ah, yes. Muddy moss, right? Very flattering.” Matt teases him, but there’s a note of genuine joy underneath. Foggy remembers Matt’s tears when Foggy had described them to him, the wonderment.
“Ah, but I did specify that it was a very pretty muddy moss.” Foggy points out lightly. He doesn’t tell Matt that Foggy was crying a little too, that day.
“Of course.” Matt agrees, smile feeling wide and bright. And there, that’s the point of this whole thing. It’s a way to bring them closer, not to push them apart. It’s important and intimate, yes, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. It should be fun—fun, and easy, and comfortable.
“Hair?” Matt asks, one hand sliding up to run through Foggy’s longer hair. “You’re a carrot-top, aren’t you?”
“I have a healthy amount of warm auburn highlights that compliment my skin tone, yes.” Foggy says stiffly. Matt laughs, one sharp, delighted sound.
“You are! You’re a ginger. That’s fantastic.” He doesn’t even sound like he’s joking. Matt sounds like he is genuinely amazed by Foggy’s red hair. It’s a new feeling.
“And you have dark brown, maybe a little that’s just black. Little bit of a curl. It’s very mysterious, sort of Byronic. But then your hair probably hasn’t changed that much since you were a kid.”
“Well, certainly no one called it ‘Byronic’ when I was a kid, so that part’s new.”
Foggy can tell that Matt’s going to rejoin with something witty and smart-assed, hears him taking the breath, so to save his pride Foggy takes the initiative and brushes his fingertips across the one place he’d been avoiding like the plague this whole time: Matt’s lips.
Whatever clever retort Matt had been planning is cut short with his sharp inhale of breath.
Foggy can feel the word ghost across his fingertips, tangible, weighty.
“Do you use Chapstick?” Foggy asks, partly because he wants to hide how much this is affecting him and partly because he’s curious. Matt shakes his head, causing his mouth to slide against Foggy’s fingers. It’s slightly damp with spit—Matt must have licked his lips earlier, and Foggy missed it—but rough. “You should. You strike me as a cherry kind of guy. I personally like—“
Matt’s index finger presses firmly against his lips, stopping Foggy’s babbling short.
Foggy wants to open his eyes so much that it physically hurts him, but he said he wanted to feel this the way Matt does, and that means no peeking, no matter how much he needs to see the look on Matt’s face right now. What he’s thinking.
What he’s feeling.
“Say something.” Matt requests softly. “I want to know what it feels like when you speak.”
Foggy considers blurting out something damning, like ‘You’re the most beautiful person I’ve ever met’, or ‘How can people think this is uncomfortable, it’s the best feeling in the world’, or even ‘I think I might be in love with you’. He opens his mouth, and what comes out is,
“Avocado.” He hears Matt’s huff of incredulous laughter, feels it, and adds before he can stop himself, “Matt.”
Matt’s lips part.
“Say it again.” Foggy doesn’t bother asking which part.
“Matt.” Matt’s fingers run along the edges of his mouth, down over the swell of his bottom lip so that it just brushes the sensitive part inside. “Matt. Matthew Murdock. I don’t actually know your middle name, or I’d say that too.”
“Michael.” Matt’s voice is hoarse, breaking over the second syllable. Foggy runs a finger along the seam of Matt’s mouth, chasing the word.
“Matthew Michael Murdock.” He murmurs, tasting how the name feels in his mouth. Lots of mmm’s, like the sounds you make after waking up from a wonderful dream or getting a taste of something especially delicious. “I like it.” He smiles, and he makes sure his lips part a little under it so that the tips of Matt’s fingers slip just inside.
Matt makes a choked sound.
“Foggy.” He whispers, and Foggy has to admit, Matt has the right of things. Hearing and feeling his name on Matt’s lips at the same time is a heady feeling. It makes the connection between them seem palpable, a current running between them where their skin touches. And Matt’s leaning in, pushing them closer. His head tilts just a fraction under Foggy’s hands, and Foggy can feel the gust of Matt’s breath on his lips, warm and heavy and tasting of cinnamon. “I need—“
And then the world explodes.
Foggy wakes up to the sound of a leaking pipe, the smell of gunpowder, and the worst headache he’s ever had.
When he tries to rub the sleep from his eyes, he realizes that he also woke up trussed up like a turkey. The only thing missing is a side of stuffing and cranberry sauce.
“Oh, you have got to be kidding me.”
“Foggy?” A voice says, hoarse and cracked, and it takes Foggy a second to realize that the voice is Matt. He sounds terrible. He also sounds close, so Foggy turns his head this way and that until Matt comes into view, maybe ten feet from Foggy, close enough to get a pretty good look at his face but not close enough to touch.
In addition to sounding like he’s been chain-smoking for about thirty years, Matt also looks like he got hit with a bus. He’s got a split lip and a black eye and a few cuts on his face that are probably going to need stitches. He’s also bound just like Foggy, except there’s a hell of a lot more rope around him and holy hell it’s not rope it’s barbed fucking wire. There are trails of blood where Foggy is sure that Matt struggled against the bonds, the stubborn bastard, and some of the trails are worryingly thick.
“Matt! Jesus, what did they do to you?” He swallows hard, staring at the blood. “Are you okay?” It’s a dumb question—Matt’s lost maybe a pint of blood and he’s losing more every moment he’s tied up in barbed fucking wire, of course he’s not okay. Matt, however, just gives a shaky laugh.
“I’m fine. It’s you I was worried about. They said they might have hit you too hard, brain damage, and I can hear your heart but I can’t hear your head and you weren’t waking up and god, Foggy, you weren’t waking up—“
“Matt.” Matt stops, and Foggy hears him take a shaky breath, sees it in the heave of his shoulders. Matt winces when the wire across his chest cuts a little deeper, and Foggy sees a few beads of blood well up. “How long was I out?”
“Three hours, maybe?” Matt says, voice subdued. “It felt like longer.” Foggy stares at him.
“Three hours.” He repeats flatly, because that’s longer then he ever slept at one time in law school, and he’s pretty sure that getting brained is not an acceptable sleep aid. “And you were awake this whole time?” Matt nods, looking miserable. “Dude, that sucks.”
“It wasn’t the most pleasant three hours I’ve ever spent, no.” Matt says with a faint note of humor. “But it wasn’t the worst either.” Foggy stares at him.
“That is terrifying, and I hope to god you are joking.” Matt does not sound like he’s joking, and he’s not smiling. “What was the worst three hours you’ve ever spent?”
“My father’s funeral.” Matt says simply, and Foggy nods slowly because of course Matt would pick emotional pain over physical. And Matt really does not need to be miserable on top of being maimed, so instead of saying how sorry he is and drawing it out, he jokes weakly,
“Mine was probably the bar exam." Matt looks startled for a second, and then he laughs. It sounds a little less anemic than the one he gave when he said he was okay. Foggy thinks that’s because the way Matt laughs when he's lying sounds nothing like the way Matt laughs when he's happy.
“I’m so glad you’re awake.” Matt whispers after a moment, voice thick, and Foggy thinks of Matt sitting here alone in the silence for three hours, not knowing if Foggy was going to live.
Except Matt wasn’t sitting here alone, was he?
“Why were they hitting you?” He asks, and watches as Matt tenses and curls a little in on himself, which tightens the wire and is probably going to be hell when he sits up again.
“They’re the mob. I’m pretty sure beating people up is their national sport.” Foggy narrows his eyes. Matt’s body is still, but his eyes are shifty as hell.
Those bastards took Matt’s glasses.
“Yeah,” he agrees slowly. “It kind of is, but they don’t tend to hogtie people with barbed wire before they beat them up. That sort of seems like a personal touch.” Matt swallows, hard, and then opens his mouth. Foggy cuts him off, because he knows that face. “Are you seriously going to lie to me? Now, when it is literally a life and death situation?” Matt closes his mouth.
They spend probably a good minute in taut silence, Foggy glaring into Matt’s hazel eyes even though the bastard can’t appreciate it (and he can only really see one eye, the other one’s almost swollen shut, and it makes Foggy feel sick under the growing frustration). Matt keeps doing this thing where his lips part just a little, like he’s about to say something, and then he closes it again before he even starts.
“You know, lying by omission is pretty much as bad, at least in current circumstances.” He offers pointedly, and Matt does the little open-shut thing with his mouth before finally saying quietly,
“They took you because of me.” The guilt is so thick Foggy can almost taste it in his voice, and Matt sounds as serious and formal as if he’s in confession. Foggy snorts.
“Yeah, I already figured that out. I got the standard rope, remember? Rope is what they give you when you haven’t royally pissed them off. Now you’re going to tell me why they kidnapped you, and why they kidnapped me by association, and it is going to be a damn good explanation that will answer all of my questions and make this jackhammer in my brain worth it.”
He’s maybe a little snappish, partly because Matt’s being cagey about something that is endangering both of their lives, and partly because his head hurts like a motherfucker and he gets testy when he’s in excruciating pain.
“I’ve been interfering with their sale of illegal arms and drugs for the past six months. I’ve maybe cost them a couple million dollars, and also a fair portion of their manpower.”
Well. Foggy can see why Matt had a little trouble coming up with how to say that tactfully. Unfortunately his twenty false starts didn’t do much to polish the delivery.
“Interfering.” He repeats, and he’s not sure whether his tone is blank or hysterical. He's feeling a little bit both. “What exactly does ‘interfering’ entail here, Matt?”
“Uh.” Matt starts eloquently. “Neutralizing all hostile parties and acquisitioning monetary assets on the premises for proper redistribution?”
Which, Foggy is a lawyer and he’s used to obfuscating. He, in fact, speaks fluent bullshit.
“So you’re a hypocritical vigilante who commits crimes against criminals.” He translates, and Matt hesitates before nodding. “Okay then. I mean, sure, you lied and told me you were a freelance business consult… oh. Oh, that’s tacky. That’s like Hannibal Lector saying how much he loves having people for dinner.” Matt looks like he wants to shrug insouciantly, but the barbed wire is stopping him.
“I mean, it wasn’t actually a lie. I work freelance, and I spend a lot of time dealing with organizations and their funds.” Matt points out.
“Yeah, criminal organizations!” Foggy really wants to flail right now so that Matt gets the point. “That is the stupidest, most suicidal thing I have ever heard! What do you even do with the money? You clearly don’t spend it on home décor.”
“Not much point, is there?” Matt says wryly, and Foggy huffs.
“You thought the Braille-inlaid statues I got you were pretty cool, as I recall.” Matt’s dry smile softens to something tender and more endearing than it has any right to be at the moment.
“They were beautiful, Foggy.” He agrees. “Best gift I ever got.”
“Well, you’re welcome, I—“ Foggy shakes his head. “No! I am not letting you distract me with gooey declarations. What do you do with the money, Matt?”
Matt is silent for a moment, and Foggy knows he’s trying to find the right words to lie without actually lying, which is apparently a hobby. Freelance business consultant, Foggy’s ass.
“I keep a little, like a commission I guess, but most of it goes to the group I work for.”
“Work for—there are more of you? How does that even—so what, you rob from the rich and give to yourselves, and to hell with the consequences?”
“We’re crippling organized crime throughout the world!” Matt snaps. “No funds means no buying, which means no selling, which means the world becomes a safer place when the guns and drugs are off the streets!”
“You are a fucking hypocrite, and so are your friends!” Foggy hisses back. “Going around and busting up a warehouse or two isn’t going to solve the crime epidemic, you idiot. There will always be more scumbags to step into the empty places, and they’ll be more careful and one day, you are going to get caught and find yourself tied to a chair with barbed wire and surrounded by a crime syndicate with a—very valid—vendetta against you.”
“I knew the risks.” Matt says stonily. “Stick was very clear.”
Stick, what the hell? Is that a person, or does Matt talk to his walking stick? If Matt talks to his walking stick, things are significantly worse in Matt's head than Foggy previously assumed. Foggy assumed things were pretty damn bad.
Foggy wants so badly to smack Matt it’s not even funny, right up until he sees that someone else smacked Matt first and the sight of it makes Foggy ill with anger and sympathy.
“Yeah? Did your cane tell you that one of the risks was dragging your best friend down with you?” He mutters quietly, and as soon as it’s out of his mouth he wishes he could take it back.
Matt, solid as a self-righteous mountain, crumbles like dust. As he sags, the barbed wire cuts deeper and new rivulets of blood blossom on his skin. He doesn’t even seem to notice.
“I’m so sorry.” Matt gasps, sounding like he’s got no breath left in his lungs. “I knew I shouldn’t have gotten close to you, we’re not supposed to have connections outside the clan. They’re distractions, they’re weak spots, but I met you and I couldn’t help it.” He takes a deep shuddering breath. “I was selfish, and now you’re paying for it.”
“Jesus, Matt.” No connections. That explains why Matt never mentioned any family or friends. No fucking connections. “No, look, I’m an asshole. I don’t blame you; it’s not like you planned this. And, listen, because this is important.” He waits until Matt nods hesitantly to show he’s giving Foggy his full attention. “Meeting you was probably the best thing that’s ever happened to me, alright? Kidnapping notwithstanding, these last few months have been some of the happiest in my life, and if you regret being with me, I swear to god I will strangle you with that wire when I get free. Okay?”
Matt’s one visible eye blinks slowly, and it looks significantly wetter than it did a moment ago. His throat works visibly.
“Okay.” He repeats meekly, tilting his head down so that Foggy can’t see his face well. “I don’t regret meeting you.” He adds in a whisper. “I regret letting this happen, but I’ll never regret meeting you. You’re the best friend I’ve ever had, and the only one I’ve ever wanted.”
Which, wow. That’s pretty heavy. But then Foggy pretty much just declared his undying love for Matt without actually saying the words, so he supposes they’re about on the same page.
“Good.” He says decisively, then has a stupid idea. “Hey, Matt?”
“Yeah?” Matt asks quietly. Foggy smiles at him as big and bright as he can, because he hopes that somehow Matt will know it’s there even if he can’t see it.
“I have been, and always shall be, your friend.” Matt makes a choking sound that might be a laugh and might be a sob.
“God, you’re such a dork.” His voice is strangled and breaks a couple times along the way and it was definitely more of a sob than a laugh. “You’re such a dork. I love that about you. God, I love everything. Foggy, I lo—“
The door opens.
“Well, this is sweet. You two are better than a soap opera.” The newcomer drawls. His voice is surprisingly light and breathy for a man of his size. The guy is huge, but Foggy bets that not an inch of it is fat. He moves like a fighter, sort of like a bear, and there is something wild and feral about him that contrasts with his tastefully-cut suit.
“Thanks.” Foggy tells him through a sharp smile. “I always wanted to be an actor when I was a kid.” The man smirks at him, a poisonous, simpering thing.
“Yes, but then you decided to become a lawyer instead. Graduated top of your class from Columbia—very impressive, your mother and sisters were very proud, weren’t they?”
Foggy gasps and reels back. He knows that anyone could figure that out if they tried, it’s public record, but that doesn’t change the fact that this guy tried.
“Don’t worry, I have no desire to harm your family.” The man assures him, like Foggy’s going to take his word about anything. He shrugs. “Actually, I have no real desire to harm you, but unfortunately, needs must.”
“No needs.” Foggy protests earnestly. “There are no needs here regarding bodily harm, promise.” When the man steps closer, Foggy wriggles to get away although there’s nowhere to go.
“I’m inclined to disagree.” He murmurs in his breathy way. “Ah, but I’ve been rude. I haven’t even introduced myself. I do apologize.”
“That’s the part of this you think deserves an apology?” Foggy asks incredulously, and the man tuts.
“Your current position is quite necessary, I assure you, but there is never any excuse for rudeness.” He dips his head politely. “My name is Wilson Fisk, and I’ve been looking forward to meeting your companion for quite some time now.”
“Do you normally give out your full legal name to people you kidnap? At least, I’m assuming that’s your legal name, because no one would choose to call themselves ‘Wilson Fisk’.”
Jesus, his motor mouth. He babbles when he’s nervous, and he’s pretty fucking nervous right now.
“Named after my grandfather.” Fisk explains cheerfully. “Wonderful man, taught me everything I know.” Which means he's a psychopath by both nature and nurture. Lovely.
“Fisk, there’s no reason to involve him. He hasn’t done anything to you.” Matt says, low and clear. Fisk laughs airily.
“No, of course he hasn't.” He agrees agreeably. “But I’m afraid he’s already involved. Which was rather—oh, what was the word you used? Ah, yes. It was rather selfish of you.”
“If you heard that, you heard the bit about me strangling people with wire when they piss me off.” Foggy grits out. “Guess who just pissed me off?”
“I think you’ll find that you actually need the use of your hands to strangle anyone, and that’s not a luxury you have anymore.” Fisk pulls out his phone and types something onto the screen before slipping it back into his pocket. “But don’t worry, I’m sure we can find something else to keep you occupied.”
Which does not sound good. Matt seems to agree because he starts talking again.
“Stop. You have what you wanted, just stop.” He says, and he doesn’t sound defiant like Foggy thought he would. He sounds scared.
A man walks into the room, obviously following the summons sent from Fisk’s phone, and he’s got a gun in a holster and a baton in his hand. No, not a baton--a cattle prod.
“But I’m afraid that I don’t have what I want, Mr.—oh, but I’m afraid I don’t know your last name. I’ll just call you Matt, shall I? Since we’re all friends here.”
“Do not ever call me Matt.” Matt hisses, and Fisk chuckles.
“Well, Matt, I’m sure that you realize that while capturing you is a nice opening move, it’s not my endgame.” He steps closer to Foggy, and so does Cattle Prod Man. “You see, I’m a business man. I deal in goods and services… and information.” Matt goes rigid. “And there’s quite a demand at the moment for information on your particular group of associates.”
“Go to hell.” Matt says succinctly, and Fisk shrugs, shooting Foggy a smarmy, commiserating smile.
“He’s been saying that for the past three hours. Very stubborn, and I like to think I can be rather persuasive.” Foggy looks over at the broken and bruised Matt and swallows hard.
Matt sits there, tall and defiant, and Foggy wants to hug him for being so brave. Sure, Matt’s ‘friends’ seem like a piss-poor group of human beings, but they’re important enough to Matt that he’s willing to take a serious beating for them. Foggy has to admire his loyalty.
“Good boy, Matty.” He murmurs, and he sees Matt’s lips turn up into a small smile. Fisk does not appear to enjoy this sign of camaraderie, because before Foggy can even think of ducking he’s slamming a fist into the side of Foggy’s head.
The pain that had faded into a persistent buzz in the back of his mind explodes anew, and he gasps out a sound of pain before he can stop himself. Fisk stands back, flexing his hand and looking very little like a guy who ‘has no real desire to harm Foggy’. The guy looks like it’s fucking Christmas.
“You punch like a girl.” Foggy rasps, and Fisk laughs and raises his hand again. Foggy refuses to flinch even though he knows it’s coming, and he congratulates himself on not crying out this time. When Fisk follows it with a swift strike of his foot against the length of Foggy’s tibia, he only shouts a little. He’s not sure, but he thinks the bone might have cracked; he’d bet money that Fisk’s leather shoes have hidden steel toes. “And you kick like a paraplegic.”
“Foggy.” Matt hisses at him, and Foggy thinks Matt wants him to shut up before Fisk gets mad. Foggy knows though, it doesn’t matter a whit if Fisk’s mad at him. This isn’t about him, it’s about Matt, and Fisk obviously wants Matt to suffer.
“I’m fine, Matt.” Foggy lies. “I’ve taken worse beatings on the playground.”
“Is that a challenge?” Fisk asks, cold eyes lighting up, and Foggy watches in dawning horror as he gestures to his minion for the prod. The minion gives him what might be a sympathetic look as he hands over the prod and leaves the room; Foggy could care less. Sympathy doesn’t mean squat unless you actually act on it.
Foggy eyes the prod with trepidation. Truthfully, Foggy knows he can take a punch or two, even if he’d rather not, but he’s not sure how well he can handle being electrocuted with enough juice to take out an animal three times his size.
“No, absolutely not.” Foggy assures him. “I’m not a competitive person.”
“I am.” Fisk admits before turning to Matt. “But I’m not an unreasonable one. If you tell me the location of your base and the names of your associates, I promise that no more harm will come to either you or your companion.”
It’s so obviously a lie that it’s not even funny, although Foggy still has a hysterical desire to laugh. Matt seems to think so too, because he licks his lips and says quietly,
“I don’t care what you do to me.” The worst part is, Foggy thinks he means it. Matt really doesn’t consider himself important enough to give a second thought to.
“I care what he does to you!” Foggy reminds him sharply, and when Matt sends him a warning look Foggy points out bluntly, “It’s not like he doesn’t know that.”
Fisk considers Foggy for a moment.
“If I do not receive my information in the next minute, one of you is going to be introduced to my associate.” He tosses the prod lightly in one hand, flicking the controls to turn it on. “Are you offering yourself for the position?”
“No—“ Matt shouts at the same time that Foggy says firmly,
Fisk shrugs his shoulders.
“I was going to pick you anyway, but it’s very nice of you to volunteer.” He tells Foggy. He turns to Matt when the man makes an angry sound. “Of course, we still have…” He glances at his watch. “Forty-five seconds. There’s plenty of time for you to save him.”
Matt growls and begins struggling again, and Foggy watches in horror as more and more wounds open on his body. After only a few moments of this, he can’t take it.
“Matt, unless you honestly think you can get out of that wire in the next forty seconds, stop.” Matt continues struggling for another five, and then finally goes limp. “Thank you.” Foggy says gratefully, although if he’s being honest he was sort of hoping Matt thought he could get out of that wire in the next forty—thirty-five—seconds.
“I can’t tell him.” Matt croaks, and he’s crying again and turning his head towards Foggy like he needs to say this eye-to-eye, even if only one of them has working eyes. “Foggy, I can’t. It would kill so many people…”
“Okay.” Foggy tells him calmly. Matt freezes, stricken. “It’s okay, Matt. You’re doing the right thing.”
“I don’t want to do the right thing!” Matt shouts, and he sounds tortured, absolutely wrecked. “I don’t want to…” He murmurs again, brokenly, and Foggy thinks about how much it must cost Matt to say that. He’d given a speech less than twenty minutes ago about how he’s devoted his whole life to doing what he believes is the right thing, and now he’s acting like that speech meant nothing.
“Twenty seconds.” Fisk says helpfully, and Foggy shoots him a venomous look. Fisk knows nothing’s going to happen in the next twenty seconds; he’s just doing this to torture Matt.
Foggy wriggles again in his seat. Even though he knows Fisk is doing this to be a dick, he’s grateful for the extra time.
“I can give you a list of the syndicates we’ve hit. Every one.” Matt offers, a desperate plea. Fisk chuckles.
“I can get that from a newspaper. Five seconds.” He hoists the prod enticingly. Foggy isn’t sure if he’s imagining the menacing hum emanating from it. If he can actually hear it, it must be deafening to Matt.
“It’ll be okay, Matt.” Foggy tells him quietly.
“Three. Two. One.”
Foggy was prepared for pain, but he thinks there is nothing in the world that could have prepared him for this. It’s like being set on fire and getting frostbite at the same time, and underneath it all the bubbling jolt of pain that comes from getting a shock. Foggy, as a precocious and stupid child, had once stuck his finger in a socket—this is about a million times worse than that.
“I thought…” He gasps when Fisk pulls the prod away and Foggy can breathe through his tears, “That those things were supposed to prod, not push you into an electrified cactus patch.”
Fisk grins down fondly at the baton.
“This one is specially modified.” He confides like a proud parent. “The standard models just don’t seem to get the job done.”
“Huh.” Foggy wants to say something clever, but he’s still recovering. All his muscles feel like pulverized jelly.
“Nothing too strong, of course—we need you to stay conscious, or else what’s the point? But it tends to send a compelling message.” Fisk continues like Foggy asked him to.
Foggy ignores him, because he doesn’t need to know the details of his torture device (knowing it hurts like hell is already too much information in Foggy’s mind). He looks towards Matt to see how he’s taking it.
Matt doesn’t actually appear to be breathing. Foggy would worry that he passed out, except that Matt’s eyes are open and they seem to be focusing on Foggy like there’s nothing else in the world. It’s impossible that they’re focusing on anything, but that’s what it feels like.
“Matt?” He rasps. “You still with me?”
Matt shakes his head, throat working. Foggy isn’t sure whether he’s saying he’s not still with Foggy, or if he’s just expressing rejection of the situation as a whole. Foggy can get on board with the second one.
“I’m fine, Matt.” He’s not fine, but Matt doesn’t need to know that. Besides, Fisk said the shocks weren’t enough to knock him out. If he’s conscious, that means he’s alive, and Fisk is going to keep him that way as long as possible to attack Matt.
“I’m clearly not trying hard enough.” Fisk muses, and then the prod’s back and when Foggy’s brain finally comes back online, he tastes blood in his mouth. He carefully rolls his tongue to make sure he still has it, and finds after a moment of prodding that he’s bitten the inside of his cheek—hard, but not enough to cause permanent damage.
“A for effort.” Foggy wheezes, and Matt makes a little sound of pain. Fisk glances over at him, almost absently. It’s like he’s forgotten the reason he’s here, like he’s gotten so distracted by torturing Foggy that he’s not even trying to get the information anymore. It's a chilling thought.
“Still nothing to add to the conversation?” Fisk asks, tutting. “I suppose you’re not as invested in Mr. Nelson’s welfare as I thought. You don’t care at all, do you?”
Foggy knows this is complete bullshit even before he gets a good look at Matt. The man’s clearly struggled at some point while Foggy was out of it, and that barbed wire is going to have to be cut out of him, Jesus.
“I know you care, Matt.” Foggy tells him quietly, and Matt makes another horrible little sound and swallows hard. He’s close to breaking, even Foggy can see that. Another zap or two and he’ll be singing like a canary. All those lives, all of his partners-in-crime, given up to save Foggy. And it’s not worth it; even if Foggy survives, he knows Matt will kill himself with the guilt. There’s no win here.
“I must admit that I’m impressed, Mr. Nelson. More hardened men than you have broken before now. It’s a pity; from what I’ve heard, you’re quite a promising arrival on the legal scene. I can always use another lawyer.” Fisk muses.
“Not… happening.” Foggy gets out through deep breaths. “Bet you…don’t even…have dental.”
Fisk responds by fairly stabbing Foggy with the cattle prod, with is a pretty effective rebuttal.
While the aftershocks ripple through him, Foggy lets himself go completely limp, head falling forward and eyes shut. There’s no breath left for anything snarky, or even anything comforting to tell Matt; even if there was, he wouldn’t use it. He’s saving it.
He carefully wiggles his hands while moving the rest of his arms as little as possible. All of his earlier wriggling had covered up his attempts to loosen the knots around his wrists, and with a few rather painful twists and yanks, he feels the ropes slip over his hands. He catches the loop before it can fall to the ground and keeps it clenched in his fists, listening while Fisk starts talking.
“Oh, dear. I think I might have overdone it a bit.” He’s telling Matt. “I can get a little… overzealous sometimes. Now we’ll have to wait for him to wake up again.”
“Please.” Matt whispers, and any trace of fight has left him. “Please stop.”
“You can make me stop any time you want. All you have to do is tell me what I want to know.” Fisk cajoles. “Your friend could wake up safe in his own bed, all of this like a bad dream. All you have to do is tell the truth.” He sounds so affable about it, so reasonable. Foggy thinks this is what the Devil sounds like when he’s trying to make a deal.
“I…” Matt starts, almost inaudible. He takes a deep, shuddering breath, and Foggy knows this is it. This is where Matt Murdock gives up his life’s work, betrays his own beliefs, just to save Foggy’s hide.
It’s incredibly flattering, but for Matt’s own wellbeing Foggy decides that he can’t let it happen.
His eyes flick open. Fisk’s turned away from him, all his attention on Matt, and Foggy sees the telltale glint just visible under the hem of his suit jacket. He’s seen enough crime shows to know what’s there.
Marci taught him to shoot. Foggy had hated the idea of using a gun, but Marci had insisted that if he was going to live in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen, he needed to know how to handle a gun even if he wasn’t going to carry one. You never know when you’ll need it, she’d told Foggy. You’ll thank me later.
When Foggy grabs the gun and shoots Fist pointblank in the back, he dutifully promises to thank Marci everyday for the rest of his life.
Fisk falls like a sack of potatoes, and Foggy only spares one moment to think don’t be dead, you bastard, I don’t want to be a murderer, before he’s working furiously on the ropes around his legs.
When he finally gets them off and struggles to his feet, only barely managing to keep his balance through the pins and needles going through his legs, he wastes no time stumbling over to Matt.
He thinks that Matt might have passed out; his eyes are closed. When Foggy gets closer though, he realizes that Matt’s got them squeezed shut, and he’s whispering over and over almost too low to hear,
“Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
“Don’t thank me yet, Matty. I still have to get you out of this stuff without killing you.”
Matt exhales shakily and opens his eyes. He looks wrecked, and his teeth are chattering a little from residual adrenaline.
“I heard the gun go off, and I didn’t know… It was so loud. I couldn’t hear your heartbeat, and I thought—“ He swallows hard. Foggy blinks at him, mystified.
“Couldn’t hear my—no, you know what? It doesn’t matter right now. Later you are going to tell me about the heartbeat thing and how that’s possible, but now…” He looks Matt over and does not like what he sees. “If I start trying to untangle you, is that just going to make things worse? You don’t look like you can stand to lose any more blood, Matt.”
“No, I should be fine. It probably looks worse than it is. I'll bet I won’t even need stitches.” Matt diagnoses optimistically.
“You’re getting stitches.” Foggy tells him flatly, circling him to try to figure out where the hell he’s supposed to start. “So I just, what? Unwind it?” Matt nods, wincing.
“Sorry, I know you don’t like the sight of blood.” He says contritely.
For a moment, all Foggy can do is stare at him.
“The sight of—Are you serious?” Matt blinks up at him, confused. “Oh my god, you’re serious. Look, Matt, my squeamishness is the least of our worries right now. Besides, I think I’m becoming desensitized at this point.”
“Sorry.” Matt says again, and Foggy decides that Matt is stupid from blood loss and ignores him.
“Okay, I’m going in.”
Matt barely flinches when Foggy starts unwinding the wire, beginning at his feet—in case they need to run before he’s done, and he hates that he has to think of things like that now—and he doesn’t make any sound. Matt and Foggy are going to be having a long talk about the origins of Matt’s disturbingly high pain tolerance. A thought strikes Foggy.
“How much time do you think we have before the goons come to check out the gunshot?”
“A while.” Matt assures him. “They’re not around—they don’t like being close to him. I’ll let you know if one’s coming.” Foggy glances at him briefly before returning to his work.
“Yet another skill you are going to be explaining to me once we get out of here. It’s like you have bat ears.” He’s freed Matt’s legs and he’s working on the torso, carefully ignoring the small trickles of blood that follow his efforts. Foggy’s being as careful as he can, but he feels like he’s diffusing a bomb without a manual. While wearing oven mitts.
“I’ll tell you everything.” Matt swears earnestly. “I promise.”
“I get the feeling that might take a while.” Foggy mutters, before exclaiming “Aha!” when the wire finally comes off Matt in one long, stiff string. “Can you walk?”
Matt nods and levers himself to his feet, only swaying for a second before Foggy reaches out to steady him. Matt uses the hand Foggy offers to grab him and tug him along rather quickly in what has to be a completely random direction.
“Follow me, okay?” He tells Foggy, and Foggy gapes incredulously at the back of his head.
“Follow the blind guy through completely unfamiliar, hostile territory? The blind guy who is bleeding out before my eyes, and probably only half-conscious right now?” Matt makes a frustrated noise.
“I’m not bleeding out.” He claims indignantly. “I told you it’s not as bad as it looks. And…” He hesitates, although his steps never falter as he weaves them expertly through rows of boxes and equipment. “And I know where I’m going.”
“How do you know where you’re going?” Foggy asks slowly, and he’s not trying to be suspicious but it’s hard not to be when Matt’s acting shady as hell. “Have you been here before?”
“Later.” Matt urges, and tugs him faster. Foggy knows it’s a cop-out, but he decides to give the severely injured man a bit of slack. They move along in silence for a while, until they reach a door. Matt carefully pushes it open and they stumble out.
There’s sunlight. Foggy isn’t sure why, but he’d somehow been assuming it was night.
The light hurts his eyes.
“Hey Matt?” Matt makes a humming sound, guiding them briskly down an alleyway.
“This still wasn’t as bad as the bar exam.”
Matt laughs, and it’s only a little bit broken.
Matt can see.
Foggy isn’t sure why this is the part that bothers him the most. He thinks that being tied to a chair and electrocuted should probably trouble him more, or the fact that Matt was a super ninja member of a shady organization known as the Chaste (Foggy wonders if membership comes with a free purity ring). Matt says that he’s been excommunicated from the group for being ‘emotionally compromised’ and ‘endangering the clan’, and Foggy’s also pretty pissed off at these Chaste assholes for thinking that having feelings makes Matt weak. And apparently Matt had kept visiting him at night because he needed a caffeine stop before his nightly suicidal excursions for said group of assholes (he assures Foggy that after the first time, he'd mostly gone for Foggy and the coffee had just been a nice bonus, but Foggy's not convinced). So there’s a lot to be upset about.
But for some reason it’s the blind thing that his mind just can’t let go of.
Matt says it’s not ‘seeing’, not really. It’s his other senses filling in the blanks. Smell, heat, touch, hearing—
“Wait, so you actually do have bat ears?” Foggy clarifies. “You are a crime-fighting vigilante with bat-themed superpowers? Dude, you are actually Batman.”
“Batman didn’t actually have enhanced senses.” Matt points out helpfully, and Foggy glares at him.
“Can you see me glaring at you right now?” He asks, and Matt shakes his head, smiling a little ruefully.
“I can feel it, though.” He admits. “Sometimes I swear you have heat vision, because I can always tell when you’re glaring at me.”
“Can you tell when I’m smiling at you?” Foggy blurts out before he can stop himself, and Matt freezes.
“Uh.” Matt says, looking uncomfortable. “Yeah, sort of. I mean, I can tell when you’re happy, from your heart and the way you move, and I can sense when you’re looking at me, so I just sort of… guess? Hope.” He adds quietly, staring down at his hands and looking a little miserable. Foggy knows this whole honesty thing has been tough on him, and they’ve been at it for a while.
He takes a moment to look at Matt. He's left the glasses off, which Foggy is grateful for; there don't need to be any more barriers between them making this harder. It looks like he’s healing up okay; after a week, the swelling around his eye is finally starting to fade, and the split in his lip is completely faded. There are still bandages peeking out from under his shirt, but Matt had been right when he said it wasn’t as bad as it looked.
Matt hadn’t even wanted to go to the hospital, but Foggy had put his foot down. They’d been taken care of by a lovely nurse named Claire who had seen to the injuries efficiently and not asked too many questions. He wonders what on earth she imagined they’d done to get the injuries, but he’d appreciated her discretion all the same. She had also firmly insisted that Matt get stitches for the worst of the cuts, for which Foggy is eternally grateful. He thinks that if he can get her information, he’s going to send her the biggest bouquet of flowers he can get his hands on, and maybe a muffin basket.
After the hospital, Matt had made sure Foggy got home, asked him not to file a police report, and assured him that he was going to ‘handle it’ and find Foggy when everything was ‘taken care of’. Foggy still isn’t sure whether Matt purposefully chose the vaguest, most menacing words possible, or if that’s just the way Matt’s wired. So Foggy had let him go (even with Matt missing maybe half his blood, in light of recent revelations Foggy isn’t sure he could have stopped him) and only broken down and called him after five whole hours. Matt, the bastard, had unfortunately ditched the crumby phone Foggy had previously pitied him for and now realizes was a freaking burner phone because apparently Matt's life is a freaking spy movie.
And then Matt walks into his apartment, not even knocking, after a week, and tells him in a funeral-voice that they need to have The Talk.
So here they are, Matt huddled on the couch and Foggy perched on the coffee table in front of him, and having the most surreal conversation in Foggy’s life. Blind-not-blind ninjas, honestly.
But Foggy’s frustration aside, Matt’s looking absolutely wretched and Foggy sort of hates it, so he sighs and leans forward a little.
“Yes?” Matt asks warily, still looking a little embarrassed by his admission that he can tell Foggy’s emotional state by his heartbeat. Foggy touches his knee gently.
“I’m smiling at you right now. In case you need a point of reference.”
Matt, after a moment of stunned silence, gives that sweet shy smile that snared Foggy the night they met. It still makes his heart skip a beat, and just because he knows Matt can hear it now doesn’t mean he can help it.
“Good to know.” Matt says softly, beaming. “I know you think I was lying about my sight, and I’d give just about everything for you to be right, for just this moment. I want to know what it looks like. Your smile.” It’s too raw, and Foggy’s laugh is too thick as a result.
“It’s a pretty plain smile, Matt. A little goofy right now, and definitely sappy. You tend to bring that out in me.” Matt’s own smile becomes a little goofy, and he ducks his head in that way that makes Foggy want to ruffle his hair and pull him in for a kiss.
He is so completely gone on this man. Which, since Matt’s in the mood for soul-baring confessions…
“Back at the warehouse, you started to say something. You said that you ‘lo--‘-ed me.” Matt goes very still, smile fading. Foggy licks his lips. “And I really want to fill in that blank, Matt, you have no idea how much I want to fill in that blank, but if I do I’m terrified I'll find out you were actually saying something about loaning me money or locating my lost wallet or maybe lo—“
“I love you.” Matt tells him gently, subdued. “That’s what I was going to say.”
He looks like he’s expecting a rejection, all scrunched in on himself and jaw clenched, and that’s even more upsetting than the blind thing.
“If you had, I would have told you that it was mutual.” Foggy informs him honestly. “Still is.” And just in case Matt needs to hear the words, Foggy adds softly, “I love you, Matt.”
Matt turns his face towards him like he’s a sunflower and Foggy’s the sun.
“You’re not lying.” He affirms, seemingly to himself. “Your heart says you’re not lying.”
“I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to that.” Foggy tells him frankly. “But I will learn to love your freaky bat-sense because it’s part of the package, and I’m pretty damn fond of the package.”
Matt stares at him blankly for a long moment, and then he gives a long, slow blink and pinches himself on the arm.
“Seriously?” Foggy laughs. “If this was a dream I’d be much more smooth about the whole thing.” Matt’s shy smile is back, and he bites his lip.
“If this was a dream," Matt says slowly, "I’d be tempted to do this,” He leans forward and brushes the softest, sweetest kiss against Foggy’s mouth before pulling away a little. His eyes are full to the brim with so much love that it makes Foggy breathless. It feels like Matt’s stolen all the air out of him through that kiss. “And you’d be so happy, and then you’d… you’d kiss me back.” His voice falters on the last word, timid.
Foggy licks his lips. He can still taste Matt on them.
“I’m so happy.” He murmurs dutifully, and kisses Matt back.