Franklin Philip Nelson is born with a bright smile and the word Devil burned over his heart.
His parents are worried, naturally. They consult with several specialists, who all assure them that Franklin is a happy, healthy baby boy. They consult with several spiritual advisors, who also assure him that Franklin is a happy, healthy baby boy. They check birth records to see if some young couple has chosen an avant-garde name for their baby, but find nothing. They consider the fact that their son might become a Satanist.
Finally, Mr. And Mrs. Nelson decide that their son is a happy, healthy baby boy, and that they will love him no matter what.
Even if he does become a Satanist.
Franklin Philip Nelson does not become a Satanist. In fact, he has very little interest in religion at all. His parents take him to church every week until he is six, just in case he needs some mental reinforcement that God is good, God is great. Franklin hums under his breath and kicks the pews and pays very little attention to the droning voice of the pastor. One day Mr. And Mrs. Nelson are called into the principal’s office at Sunnyside School and told that their son punched Jamie Sampson. Franklin explains earnestly that Jamie was bullying Julia, and that he doesn’t like bullies and he’s going to be a professional bully-puncher when he grows up so that girls like Julia won’t cry anymore.
Mr. and Mrs. Nelson decide that the Devil would be lucky to have someone like Franklin as a soulmate, even if they very much hope He doesn’t exist.
Franklin—who at age seven decides that “Foggy” is a much cooler name because he doesn’t get sunburn on foggy days, and that makes them awesome—goes on to become a very normal, agnostic boy. He is a little smarter than his classmates and a little louder, but everyone agrees that he is, over all, a friendly and precocious boy who punches bullies.
Foggy does not worry as much as his parents do about his Mark. After all, he is one hundred percent (ish) certain that the Devil, proper noun, does not exist. This means that his soulmate must just be someone who has a weird, kind of cool name.
Or maybe they’re really religious or something, which isn’t really Foggy’s thing but as long as they’re not a zealot nutjob, it shouldn’t be a problem. Or maybe they’ve got a devilish goatee or something, or they’re a star player for the New Jersey Devils. There are lots of options, and Foggy figures he’ll just sort of roll with it. After all, the ‘Devil’ is Foggy’s soulmate. They’re meant to be together. Foggy will figure out the details when he gets there.
Foggy meets Matt Murdock on the first day of law school. His first thought is ‘hot’. His second thought is ‘blind’. His third thought is ‘wow, hot’.
And the thing is, Matt’s not just super-hot. He’s also funny and dorky and disarmingly shy sometimes, and he laughs at Foggy’s dumb jokes and gets crinkles around his eyes when he smiles really wide, and they split the blueberry muffins they get from the cafeteria because Matt only likes the bottoms and Foggy only likes the tops.
Together, they make a whole, unified muffin. That’s got to be fate.
Matt shows no devilish tendencies in their three years as roommates. In fact, much to Foggy’s consternation, the guy’s a saint. He talks earnestly to Foggy about the wonders of justice and fighting for what’s right, and he brings Foggy food when he forgets to eat, and he does their laundry when it’s his turn and uses the expensive detergent that he buys himself (Foggy later realizes that Matt uses the detergent because it is unscented and doesn’t make his nose itch, after which Foggy also buys the expensive detergent and weeps silently over the sad state of his wallet). The only vaguely devilish tendency Matt presents is that he punches bullies, and obviously Foggy’s pretty on board with that.
In addition to the whole saint thing, there are three major problems standing in the way of Foggy’s plan to seduce Matt to the dark side and ride off into the sunset with him.
One: Matt is extremely Catholic. Actually, this presents several smaller problems in and of itself, mostly consisting of:
One-A: Catholics tend to be not so much into the gay thing. Sure, Matt seems totally okay with it when Foggy tells him faux-casually that he likes dicks as well as chicks, but there’s a big difference between being cool about the gayness in others and embracing the gayness in yourself.
One-B: Catholics tend to be not so much into the Devil thing. That one seems pretty nonnegotiable.
Two: Matt shows no innate gayness within himself to embrace, even if he wanted to. Matt has game for a dork, and even though he’s blind he always seems to find the pretty girls. Pretty girls, never pretty boys. Foggy floats several comments about the massive hotness of young Harrison Ford and other celebrities old enough for Matt to remember seeing, but Matt just hums absently and asks Foggy to test him on the precursors to the Miranda Rights. And honestly, if Matt’s not impressed by young Harrison Ford, the guy doesn’t have a gay bone in his body.
Three, and most importantly: Matt does not have a Mark.
“It used to bother me.” Matt confides to him one night as they huddle up in a blanket fort between their bunks and pretend they don’t have finals tomorrow. “But now, I don’t know. I guess I’ve accepted it.”
“Uh-huh.” Foggy agrees faintly, heart dropping to reside somewhere near his slippered feet.
You’re not supposed to talk about Marks. It’s a rule that no one says and everyone understands. It’s taboo. You only bring it up if you genuinely think that the person you’re talking to is, well, it. The real deal, the yin to your yang, the peanut butter to your jelly. But Foggy supposes that rule doesn’t apply to Matt. There are people out there, sure, who are born without Marks. Some of them make themselves miserable over it, and others shrug it off and find something else to make them happy. Matt is clearly of the latter variety, and Foggy’s thrilled that Matt’s not miserable, but. No Mark.
Matt doesn’t ask Foggy about his, which might be the reason Foggy tells him. Matt gives him his deepest secret, and asks for nothing in return. Matt’s a freaking saint, and Foggy wants—needs—to give Matt something back.
“My soulmate might be Satan.” He blurts out. When Matt blinks at him blankly, Foggy explains.
“Maybe they’re a devil in the sack?” Matt offers thoughtfully when Foggy's done with the nitty-gritty details, and Foggy laughs until he cries.
He decides, when he wakes up and finds Matt sprawled out on top of him in the blanket fort, drooling on Foggy’s shoulder and muttering something in his sleep about avocados, that he doesn’t give a fuck who the Devil is. He doesn’t give a fuck that Matt doesn’t have a convenient Mark on his skin promising that he’s Foggy’s, just Foggy’s and no one else’s. Matt Murdock is the love of his fucking life, and the world and the Devil can deal with it.
Matt grumbles and rolls a little to the left so that he can drool on Foggy’s other shoulder. Foggy wraps an arm around Matt’s waist and goes back to sleep.
Matt may not be the Devil, but he’s just about everything else.
He meets Marci and has a lot of hot, dirty sex. They both know they’re not each other’s soulmate, and they’re both cool with it. Matt doesn't like Marci very much, Foggy can tell, but he’s painfully polite to her anyway and Marci generally ignores him in favor of dragging Foggy off for more hot, dirty sex. It works.
He doesn’t cry when Matt comes back to the dorm late, hair mussed and clothes sex-rumpled. He maybe sniffles a little, but he’s got allergies, okay?
He teaches himself Braille, although he doesn’t tell Matt. Foggy doesn’t want to disappoint him, because the only language Foggy’s ever been good at is Punjabi, and trying to learn an entirely new system of writing on top of that without tipping Matt off about Foggy's embarrassing undertaking. He tries though. Oh, he tries. He studies every moment that he has to himself, mostly when Matt’s out doing things Foggy doesn’t want to think about and Foggy’s dealing with sudden, severe bouts of mysterious allergies.
He practices Braille more than he practices Punjabi, which is monumentally stupid because he’s not getting credit for Braille. When he steals Matt’s textbook while he’s quizzing him and starts reading off the statistics without pause, Matt tackles him and whispers ‘thank you, thank you, thank you’ into his hair until Foggy’s love-struck jelly in his arms. Totally worth it, Foggy thinks when he barely scrapes a pass in his Punjabi class and slips from magna cum laude into just plain cum laude.
They graduate. Foggy almost sells his soul to Landman and Zack before Matt comes to him, looking shaky but determined, and says he’s leaving the company. Foggy follows, of course Foggy follows. There was never any question.
They get their own crummy office, and they’re poor as dirt and happy as clams. Karen shows up, and she’s such a nice person that Foggy only feels a little sick when it turns out she has the hots for Matt. Everyone has the hots for Matt, he reminds himself, and just because Karen is badass and pretty and wonderful does not mean that Matt’s automatically going to fall in love with her. Karen’s got a cute little wristband hiding a Mark on her left arm, and that means that she’s not meant for Matt, not at all. Right?
Matt, as far as Foggy knows, does not fall in love with Karen. He appears to like her as much as Foggy does, but he never blushes or stutters around her, and when they go out together Matt tucks his hand into Foggy’s elbow every time and lets Foggy lead him.
The bombs go off. Hell’s Kitchen burns.
Foggy wakes up sometime during the night and feels someone watching him in his hospital bed. Probably that should be freaky as hell, but he recognizes the prickle on his skin and the quiet rustle of clothing.
“Matt?” He whispers, voice sleep-rough, and after a moment Matt shuffles sheepishly forward. The hospital room is pretty dark, so all Foggy can see is the shadowy idea of Matt’s face. He supposes that darkness doesn’t matter very much to Matt Murdock.
“Karen said you were hurt.” Matt says quietly. His voice sounds kind of weird, like he’s talking through water—thick and slow and not quite right. Foggy blinks a little, trying to will the sleep from his eyes.
“Mm, yeah, a little.” Foggy nods, head heavy. He shakes it once or twice to clear his thoughts, and gradually remembers the details leading to his arrival here at the hospital. Matt, complete radio silence, Foggy sure that he’d wandered off and fallen down a manhole. “Tried to call.” He tells Matt pointedly. “Thought you might be hurt too.”
“No.” Matt says, voice even odder. “No, I’m fine. I’m sorry—“ He stops, and Foggy hears him take a shaky breath. “I’m sorry I took so long. I should have been here sooner.” He sounds so completely ashamed that Foggy only stays a tiny bit mad.
There are no chairs around, the nurses taking them to discourage visitors off-hours, but they obviously hadn’t planned for Matt. No one expects the Murdock Inquisition. Matt does an awkward, unsure little shift like he’s not quite sure where his feet should go. He looks awful, Foggy thinks. Hair all over the place, pale as a ghost and more than a little shell-shocked. He’s not wearing his glasses, and his hazel eyes are shadow-rimmed and wild. Foggy takes pity on him.
Foggy pats the bed next to him, inviting Matt to take a seat so that he can be more comfortable. Matt shuffles forward, but instead of settling on the edge of the bed like Foggy had expected, Matt gingerly climbs into the bed next to Foggy, wraps his arms around him, and buries his face in Foggy’s neck.
“You okay there, buddy?” Foggy asks cautiously, because this does not seem to be classic Matt behavior. Matt’s face is nestled the exact same place it was in the blanket fort, years ago. It’s like his body remembers where to go.
Matt doesn’t say anything, just takes a long shuddering breath and refuses to move.
“Hey, Matt?” Matt shudders again. “Come on, Matty. We’re all okay. It’s over.”
“I got the calls.” Matt tells him, choked. “I checked my phone—finally, ha, should have checked sooner—and there are a dozen messages, all you and Karen sounding terrified. And then Karen starts talking about you being in the hospital, being hurt, but she doesn’t say how and it was hours ago, Foggy. For all I knew, you could have been dead and I wouldn’t have known because I didn’t check my phone.”
His breath brushes over the sensitive column of Foggy’s throat and Foggy suddenly remembers why cuddling Matt is not so good for his mental health. No one should be able to hit all of Foggy’s hot buttons with a hug, even a horizontal one. He always feels incredibly guilty, because Matt’s just looking for some simple comfort, and Foggy’s messy feelings are not what Matt needs, now or ever.
Fortunately, Foggy’s very good at hiding the messy feelings. He’s had a lot of practice.
“But I’m not dead.” Foggy points out, wrapping his arms around Matt and jostling him lightly. “I’m good, and Karen’s good, and Elena’s good, and you—you are okay, right? You said you were fine, but you would totally lie about something like that.” Matt exhales slowly.
“A few bumps and bruises.” He admits softly. “But nothing that needs a hospital.”
“Good.” Foggy says, and then because he’s a soppy idiot he reaches up with one hand and strokes Matt’s hair. It’s something he wants to do a lot, when Matt looks like the world’s weighing heavy on his shoulders and one wrong move could shatter him. Usually Foggy can talk himself out of it, but he’s exhausted and in pain and feels like the world is collapsing around him. He needs this.
Matt doesn’t protest. In fact, he hums and leans into the touch a little, sighing.
Foggy looks down. Matt resting on Foggy’s shoulder so he can only see half of his face, but the half he sees doesn’t look good. There are dark circles under his eyes and a scratch over his eyebrow. His jaw is unshaven and his lips are cracked, and he looks nothing like the Matt Murdock who teases Foggy about his softball skills and argues over the last eggroll. He's pretty clearly had a rough night, possibly even worse than Foggy's.
Foggy keeps stroking Matt’s hair.
Foggy doesn’t know how long they lie there together. He closes his eyes and listens to Matt’s breathing, slow and steady, but catching a little now and then like Matt is purposefully trying to keep it slow and steady and sometimes he messes up. He wonders if Matt’s listening to his breathing too. Feeling ridiculous, he stops and starts until his inhales and exhales match Matt’s so they’re breathing together. Matt’s fingers clench a little in Foggy’s hospital gown, so he thinks Matt notices.
After a minute of silence and shared breaths, Matt’s hand relaxes and then slips up just an inch or two so that it’s resting over Foggy’s heart.
“This is where it is, right?” Matt asks softly, and Foggy doesn’t bother pretending that he doesn’t understand.
Matt shifts, sitting up just enough so that he can rest on an elbow. He has his face tilted down like he’s looking at the Mark. His expression is indecipherable.
“You never talk about it.” Matt says quietly. “Not since that first time.” Foggy shrugs uncomfortably.
“It doesn’t come up much.” He points out. Matt makes a small sound of vague agreement. He remains silent for another moment or two, but Foggy knows that look and he brushes a hand across Matt’s shoulder encouragingly. Matt sighs softly before whispering,
“I was just thinking. I’m here, I can listen to your…voice, and make sure you’re okay. And somewhere out there, there’s someone who can’t. Someone who almost lost you, and they don’t even know it.” He exhales deeply, shaking his head. “Doesn’t that bother you?”
Foggy is not entirely sure how to phrase this without either lying or giving the messy feelings game away.
“I mean, I don’t want to hurt anybody.” Foggy starts carefully. “But, you said it yourself. I don’t even know this person. I might never know them.” He taps Matt’s forehead gently. “Besides, I’m usually too busy keeping you out of trouble to worry about it.”
Matt doesn’t smile.
“I don’t mean to cause you trouble.” He murmurs, and he sounds so incredibly guilty that Foggy frowns and flicks his forehead again, harder. Matt yelps.
“Oi, I like trouble, Murdock.” He chides. “Trouble is the spice of life.”
“I thought that was variety.” Matt muses absently, and Foggy nods sagely.
“And you provide a variety of troubles, each one more fun than the last.” When Matt continues looking like he’s a funeral, Foggy sighs and brushes a strand of hair from Matt’s forehead. “Matt, don’t worry about it. I know you’ve got my back when it counts.” Matt shakes his head.
“But I didn’t.” Matt whispers, tortured. “I didn’t answer the phone, and you were in trouble.” He smiles a little mirthlessly. “Your soulmate wouldn’t have done that.” Foggy snorts.
“It’s not a homing beacon, Matt, or a distress call. My ‘soulmate’ would have been as clueless as you were.” Foggy doesn’t like using the word ‘soulmate’ to describe the Mark—it makes his skin itch. He knows who his soulmate is, and it’s not a Devil who can’t even be bothered to show up. “Besides, you’re the one who came. A little late, but you got here in the end.”
Matt doesn’t answer, just keeps tracing delicate patterns over the fabric of Foggy’s hospital gown. It doesn’t hurt, exactly, but when Matt’s fingers brush over the Mark on Foggy’s chest, it feels… warm. Almost too warm, but in a good way. Like hot chocolate that burns your tongue a little but also warms you to the bones.
It’s never happened before, and it’s the tiniest bit alarming. Foggy doesn’t tell Matt to stop.
“What do you think they’ll be like?” Matt asks, hushed, and Foggy tenses.
“Matt…” He warns lowly, and Matt bites his lip.
Foggy doesn’t want to do this, but Matt’s asking in that fragile little way he does when he really wants something but is sure that he won’t get it. Foggy sighs. He can do this. He just has to be as general as possible.
“If I could pick?” He prefaces carefully. “Smart. Really smart, maybe smarter than me but not snobby about it. Funny—and they’d have to think that I was funny too, which is a tall order. Uh, caring, I guess. Generous. Loyal. A nice smile. Kind eyes. A warm laugh…” He’s getting too specific. He might as well be saying ‘hey, a cane and a law degree would be pretty cool too’. “Oh, and they’d have to love you as much as I do. That is a must.”
He means to say it in a friend way, doesn’t even think about it, but as soon as it’s out Matt goes very still above him, hand pressing heavy against Foggy’s chest. His face is unreadable again, although the way his mouth is slanting down makes Foggy think Matt’s not thinking happy thoughts.
Not good, not good. Did he sound too besotted? Did Matt put the ‘love’ thing together with Foggy’s stupidly specific guidelines for a soulmate, and now he’s going to tell Foggy that it’s hopeless and he’s sorry and Matt actually will be sorry, not faking it, and that’s the worst part of all because then they’ll both be miserable and—
“What if I didn’t like them?” Matt asks, voice whisper-soft and weighted with something Foggy can’t decipher. Matt licks his lips and taps once on Foggy’s chest, right above the mark. “What if I hated them?”
You don’t hate anybody, Foggy wants to say. You’re Saint Matthew, lover of all humanity. He wants to laugh it off and stop talking about this before everything goes wrong, but he doesn’t want to lie to Matt either. And he thinks Matt needs to hear this.
“If you didn’t like them, then they wouldn’t be my soulmate.” Foggy tells him simply. “You’re more important than a dumb tattoo, Matt.”
Matt blinks and swallows hard. After a moment, he leans down and tucks himself back into Foggy’s side, hiding his face.
Matt’s breathing is a little ragged. It reminds Foggy of the times he had his mysterious allergy attacks in law school, so he strokes a gentle hand down Matt’s back. Matt’s breath hitches.
“Okay?” Foggy asks him gently, and Matt nods after a moment, hand fisting in Foggy’s hospital gown.
“Okay.” Matt whispers, voice hot and moist against Foggy’s throat. He exhales shakily. “Thank you.”
Foggy wakes up the next morning to Matt drooling on his shoulder (again) and a nurse giggling in the hallway. He turns his head to blink blearily at her, and she raises a finger to her lips and smiles before giving him a thumbs-up. Foggy rolls his eyes and grins, and she giggles again before ducking away.
“Mm.” Matt mumbles, shifting a little and running a hand up and down Foggy’s side. “You awake?” Foggy shakes his head.
“Nope. Go back to sleep, Matt.” He says, ruffling Matt’s hair, and Matt hums and pats Foggy’s hip sleepily.
Foggy wakes up again a few hours later, only to find Matt holding two Styrofoam cups filled with awful hospital coffee and smiling like a loon. Foggy makes appreciative noises as he pretends to drink the awful coffee, and Matt sits on the edge of his bed and does the same.
It’s a good morning.
“We should get breakfast.” Matt says a few days later on the phone, instead of hello.
“Uh, sure.” Foggy says, eying his half-eaten bagel. He can do two breakfasts as long as one of them is with Matt. “I can grab coffee too, if you want—“
“No, I’ll come get you. We can go together.” Matt interrupts him quickly. “And do you think you could read over the papers we got from Brett while you wait? I know we're missing something. We just need to look a little harder. So, if you'd just look over them again while you wait? Be thorough, okay? No multitasking, no distractions. This is for a client."
Foggy frowns at the phone. They’ve gone over those papers front to back at least three times, including last night. There's nothing there to help Elena. Still, it’s Matt, so he pulls off Hail Mary passes like this all the time. It's worth a shot, at least.
“Okay.” He agrees, grimacing at the thick stack of papers barely contained within a bulging and battered manilla folder. Thirty pages of dry legal jargon, geez. Foggy's a lawyer, and even he finds this part mind-numbing. Even speed-reading, that’ll take him until Matt gets there. “You’re buying, though.”
“Absolutely.” Matt agrees eagerly, and gives a hasty goodbye. Foggy sighs and opens the folder, pushing the rest of his bagel to the side. Might as well work up an appetite.
Matt’s kind of twitchy when he gets there. He seems wound a little too tight, like he’s about to take a deposition that he’s not sure will go well.
“Yet again: nada.” Foggy informs him tiredly as Matt steps in the door, and Matt gives him a vague smile.
“Oh, really? Sorry for the extra work then. I just wanted to be sure." They were already pretty sure last night. Either Matt's desperate enough about this case to retrace his steps, or else he's got something on his mind that's scrambling his brain. After glancing again at Matt's antsy smile, Foggy's betting on the second one. He files away his suspicions for later, too hungry and tired to bother interrogating Matt immediately. It's amazing how much energy reading can take out of you if the material is dense enough. "Do you want Nirvana?” It’s Foggy’s favorite bakery, but it’s so expensive that he almost never goes there. Matt must feel really guilty about making Foggy read all those papers again, to be willing to pay for it. Score! Definitely interrogate Matt later, after yummy yet expensive snacks are bought and eaten.
“Definitely Nirvana.” Foggy approves, offering Matt his arm even though Matt got up here just fine on his own. Matt slips his hand over Foggy’s elbow and smiles at him a little more confidently, letting Foggy lead him out even though he probably knows the way better than Foggy does.
“So…” Matt says at one point, and “Do you think…” at another, and “I was wondering…” at yet another. He does this the whole way to the bakery, frowning to himself and stopping as soon as he starts.
“Something you want to talk about, Matt?” Foggy asks him gently, a little amused but also a little worried. “Because that usually involves using your words to form complete sentences.”
Matt gives him a small, pained smile.
“Sorry.” He apologizes, and tries again. “You didn't check the news yet, did you?” He says, seemingly out of nowhere. Foggy blinks at him.
“Uh, no? I usually check it after breakfast and, well—“ He gestures at the line in front of them for the counter. “No breakfast. Why, was there something important?”
“…Just some things about the bombings.” Matt says, gingerly. He’s always careful about talking about the bombings with Foggy, like he thinks Foggy’s going to burst into tears at the traumatic memories. It’s sweet, but a little exasperating. “You know, people speculating, guessing—conspiracy theories, really. No real evidence.” He adds hastily.
“Well, that’s nothing new.” Foggy points out, pulling Matt a step forward in the line. “People are going nuts over this. What, did they figure something out?”
“No.” Matt says slowly. “No, mostly they’re just pasting new labels on it. But, most people keep coming back to the same person. The masked man from the video.”
“Oh, him.” Foggy snorts, rolling his eyes. “Yeah, they’re eating him up with a spoon. I don’t get why.”
“You don’t think he’s guilty?” Matt asks quickly, sounding interested. Foggy shrugs.
“He might be. I don’t know. He’s running around beating people up and wearing a mask, so he’s already breaking the law. He’s on camera at the scene of the crime, escaping arrest and assaulting officers. He walked away suspiciously unscathed from pointblank range of a detonating bomb. It’s possible he’s the bomber—probable, even. But…” He hesitates. Matt squeezes Foggy’s elbow gently.
“But?” He urges. Foggy huffs, running a frustrated hand through his hair.
“But you don’t think he is.” He says bluntly. “And for some reason I trust your judgment." Matt remains silent for a moment, eyes down.
“I think he deserves a fair trial.” Matt acknowledges quietly. “A chance to explain himself. That’s all.”
“And let me guess, you’d want to be his legal counsel.” Foggy sighs, rubbing at his temples where a headache is brewing. Matt’s lip quirk minutely.
“I would speak on his behalf, yes.” He agrees serenely, and Foggy shakes his head in dismay.
“Matt, you cannot keep taking on all these lost causes.” He begs. “Not everyone is as good as you think they are.”
“And not everyone is as bad as you think they are.” Matt shoots back immediately, looking surprisingly stung. “The world isn’t just good and bad, black and white. It’s all shades of gray. I’m not just good and bad, Foggy.” He adds, low and urgent. “Do you understand that?”
Foggy scoffs, but when Matt tugs hard on his arm, he relents.
“Of course I understand that.” He admits, before smiling ruefully. “But you’re more good than bad, Matt, always have been. Sometimes I wonder if you understand that.”
Matt swallows, throat working.
“I try to be.” He allows, whispering. “I just want to you consider that maybe the masked man has some good in him too.”
Foggy watches Matt for a moment. The man’s lips are thin with determination, but his eyes are nervous, darting around Foggy’s face like he’s searching for something there. Foggy isn’t sure that Matt could find it, even if he had the chance to look.
He thinks Matt’s wrong. There’s something dangerous about the man in the mask, something that sets off alarm bells in the back of Foggy’s mind and makes his heart skip a beat when he sees the man on that video. Foggy thinks that Matt’s wrong, and when Matt finds that out, he’s going to be devastated. Despite what he says, Matt always looks for the best in people. Sometimes it works out—he gave Karen a chance and Foggy’s grateful for it every day—but Matt can’t always be right. He’s going to be wrong this time, and…
“I’ll consider it.” Foggy promises.
Matt’s going to be wrong this time, and Foggy’s going to have to pick up the pieces.
“Thank you.” Matt breathes, and he sounds like he’s just won a particularly hard case, happy but a little haggard. No one should be haggard before noon.
“Yeah, yeah.” Foggy waves him off, uncomfortable with the gratitude. “Why are you so invested in this, anyway?” He asks Matt, exasperated. “The guy hasn’t even been caught yet.”
Matt’s still and silent for a moment. His fingers tighten a fraction on Foggy’s arm and he opens his mouth—
Foggy looks towards the register to see that even though they haven’t moved, the line in front of them has. The boy behind the register is giving them an impatient look, and Foggy’s guessing this isn’t the first time he’s called.
“Sorry!” Foggy exclaims, flustered and hurrying forward. “Uh, three muffins. Two blueberry and, huh. Maybe a banana-nut for Karen? No, chocolate. Two blueberry and a chocolate.”
The boy rolls his eyes but reaches into the display case. A minute later Foggy’s out on the street, paper bag tucked in one elbow and Matt tucked in the other.
“Sorry, you were about to say something?” He asks Matt. “About the maybe-bomber?”
Matt smiles, but it looks a little forced.
“I forgot.” He murmurs, and says nothing more on the matter.
He’s sitting on Matt’s desk and splitting the blueberry muffins down the middle, Solomon-style, when Karen slaps the newspaper down on the desk and exclaims,
“He’s not a Devil, he’s an angel!”
Foggy chokes on air and drops the muffin. Wheezing, he manages to splutter at her,
“Who’s a Devil?” He manages to stop coughing, but he finds he can’t quite get his breath back.
“The Man in the Mask!” Karen explains impatiently. “They’re all saying he’s behind the bombings, but he’s not. He’s a good person—he saved my life.”
“Devil?” Foggy repeats faintly, brain stuck. “They’re calling him the Devil?”
“Isn’t it horrible?” Karen asks, misinterpreting his shock. “They don’t even have any proof, except that video. Those things are easy to doctor.”
Devil, Foggy thinks, dazed. He looks towards Matt, who is looking towards Karen with a look of open-mouthed, dawning horror. He knew about it, then, but didn’t want Foggy to know. As though he can feel Foggy’s gaze on him, he turns slowly towards him, eyes wide.
“Muffin.” Foggy murmurs, eyes never leaving Matt’s face. “Here. Muffin. Chocolate.” He grabs at the bag and holds it out for Karen to take.
“Oh, wow, thanks!” Karen enthuses. She digs into the bag and takes a bite. “These are great. Where did you get them?”
Foggy forgets to answer, and Matt still looks frozen solid. Foggy sees Karen look back and forth between them out of the corner of his eye.
“…Right.” She says, slowly. “I think I’m going to go get some coffee to wash this delicious muffin down. I’ll just slip out and be back…not too soon.” She backs carefully out of the room, and a moment later he hears the office door shut.
The second they’re alone, he rounds on Matt.
“You knew.” He hisses. “That’s what you were pussyfooting around this morning, wasn’t it?” Matt gives a shallow, tentative nod. “What the hell? Why didn’t you just come out and tell me instead of spinning out ridiculous hypotheticals?”
“Because I knew you’d react like this!” Matt snaps back with surprising vehemence. “Actually, you’d have been even worse, because before this morning you were completely convinced that the masked man was a monster!”
“For all I know, he still is a monster!” Foggy retorts sharply, and Matt flinches as though he’s been burned.
“You said you’d give him a chance.” Matt murmurs unhappily, and Foggy sighs harshly.
“Yeah, and I meant it. I’ll give him a chance in a court of law. But as a soulmate?” He shakes his head, frustrated. “No, you know what? I don’t even need to consider it, because there is no way that this lunatic is my soulmate!”
“You don’t know that.” Matt tells him quietly. Foggy snorts, and Matt leans forward, intent. “Foggy, just…think. What if he is? Do you really want to just give up on him before you even try?”
“What is this?” Foggy demands angrily. “Why are you suddenly so sure that this guy is my soulmate? We’ve met tons of other people who could qualify, and you never pushed like this. Why this man, this… this criminal?”
Matt licks his lips and doesn’t answer for a moment. When he does, it’s a small and pale thing.
“Just… I have a feeling.” He offers weakly, but what’s even worse is he sounds like he actually believes it. Foggy clenches his jaw. “I’m not saying you should fall into his arms or anything, god no. Just, I don’t want you to torture yourself whenever you hear about this man in the news, wondering.”
“I’m not going to torture myself!” Foggy assures him, laughing sharply. “I’m not going to think about it at all, beyond indulging in the fleeting fantasy of them catching this guy and chucking him in jail.”
“He’s innocent until proven guilty.” Matt reminds him archly, and Foggy huffs, throwing up his hands.
“Fine, so we assume he’s innocent. Him beating up half a dozen cops on video is just an illusion created by Chitauri technology. Some cat-stroking comic book kingpin is framing him for kicks. So what?” He smiles mirthlessly. “You want me to buy him some flowers and sweep him off his feet? Matt, I don’t even know this man. Even if he’s not a criminal, he could still be a dick.”
“But he might not be.” Matt points out. “If he really is the Devil your Mark signifies, then you’d probably even like him. You’d have to, right?” Matt posits uncertainly. Foggy sighs, shaking his head.
“It’s not some kind of voodoo love spell, Matt.” Foggy tells him, softening a little when Matt’s brow furrows, distressed. “Come on, you know that. Marks don’t match sometimes, or they do and it just… doesn’t work out. It’s not a slam dunk for happily ever after.”
“But it means there’s a chance.” Matt whispers, gaze turned downward. “You could live happily ever after.”
“I’m happy right now, Matt.” Foggy reminds him, annoyed. “Well, not right at this moment, but generally, yeah. I don’t need a soulmate to be happy. You have to understand that, more than anyone.” He nods towards Matt, remembering Matt’s confession of an Unmarked body. Matt's jaw tightens.
“That’s different.” He grits out. “I don’t have a choice. I’m not… denying something that’s a part of me, just because I’m stubborn.” Foggy recoils.
“What?” He whispers, breathless with anger. “A few days ago, you seemed pretty damn thrilled when I was ‘denying a part of me’. What’s with the change of heart?” Matt runs a hand through his hair, looking frustrated.
“I didn’t think that you’d actually find him!”
“I didn’t!” Foggy snaps back. “All I found is a mention of a man in a mask, who I know nothing about and who might be a mass murderer. The only evidence that he might be my soulmate is a few trite headlines!”
“You think he’s attractive, don’t you? Physically, at least?” Matt pushes, bizarrely intent. “I heard your heartbeat… spiked in the hospital when you saw the video footage on the news. Karen told me she saw it on the monitors.”
“Karen is a backstabbing gossip.” Foggy mutters to himself. Louder, he admits, “I don’t know, Matt. I saw him for maybe a second, and the footage was blurry. And yeah, okay, he had a great body even in pixel form, but so do a lot of people. That doesn’t mean we’re meant to be together.”
“But not a lot of people who you find attractive are being publicly dubbed Devils.” Matt presses. “Come on, Foggy. It’s something. You can’t say it’s not something.”
Foggy stares up at the ceiling for a moment, rolling his tongue along the roof of his mouth and gathering his thoughts. Finally, he sighs and looks back down at Matt.
“Matt, I told you that I would never pick someone who you didn’t like, remember? Are you seriously telling me that you like this guy? That, what, you’ll hit it off and be his best man at our wedding?”
“No, I’m not saying that. I don’t know him.” Matt reassures him quickly. “But, what if I meet him, and I do? That’s three things, Foggy, three pieces of evidence. That’s starting to look like a pretty good case.”
“You just said you don’t know him!” Foggy exclaims, maddened. “There’s no point worrying about this when neither of us has ever met him, and most likely neither of us ever will!”
“And you’re okay with that? With having your soulmate right there, in the same city with you, and doing nothing?” Foggy just glares mutinously, jaw tight. After a moment of taut silence, Matt slumps, looking defeated. “I’m sorry. I just… I want you to be as happy as you can be. And everyone says…” He stops, swallowing audibly.
Everyone says that finding your soulmate makes you happy, Foggy finishes in his head. Fairy tales and Disney propaganda say that finding your soulmate is the only thing that can make you happy.
“Oh, Matt.” Foggy breathes, heart aching. He shakes his head. “This makes me happy.” He gestures between the two of them. “You, and Karen, and this god-awful office with no air conditioning and a possible roach problem. That’s it, that’s all I need.”
“And if you do meet him?” Matt presses quietly. Foggy sighs, tired of fighting and tired of this conversation. He knows what Matt wants to hear.
“If I meet him, Matt, I will bring him straight to your place so you can vet him. Hell, I’ll bring him to the office—you and Karen can vet him together.” He rubs his face, exhausted. “And if, if you like him, and he turns out not to be a mass-murdering criminal bomber, and he asks me very nicely, I will maybe let him buy me dinner. I will order the most expensive item on the menu, and we will not go Dutch, and if I am not halfway in love with him by the end of the night, that will be all I let him do, ever.” He leans forward. “Final offer, Mr. Murdock.”
It’s not a fair contract. There is the unavoidable loophole that Foggy cannot possibly fall even halfway in love with the masked man, because he’s already completely in love with Matt and there’s no room left for anyone else. But Matt doesn’t need to know that.
Foggy’s a lawyer and he’s conditioned not to feel guilty about using loopholes.
Matt smiles at him tentatively.
“I’ll take the deal, Mr. Nelson.” He says shyly, and they shake hands. Foggy holds on just a second too long and then lets go just a little too quickly to make up for it, clearing his throat.
“So, we don’t have champagne, but we have muffins. Toast?”
They tap the two halves of the blueberry muffin together like they’re crystal flutes, faces straight.
By the time Karen slips cautiously back into the office, three coffees in a cardboard caddie, they’re both giggling and making doilies out of the muffin wrappers.
“How are you better at this than me?” Foggy asks, looking between his crippled, holey wrapper and Matt’s intricate mandala. Matt smirks.
“I have an eye for art.” He avers snobbishly, and a moment later they dissolve back into giggles.
“Idiots.” Karen mutters, but it’s fond.
Matt’s pretty chill about the soulmate thing after their initial conversation. Foggy sometimes catches him frowning pensively at Foggy when the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen pops up in the news, but he never confronts Foggy directly about it again.
Until Foggy finds him bleeding out on the floor of his apartment, still clutching his mask in one hand. That’s pretty direct.
“Jesus.” He mutters after Hottie McBurner Phone has sewn Matt up and they’ve gotten him ensconced in bed. Foggy’s had to change, because his clothes were covered in Matt’s blood. Foggy thinks darkly that he’s going to burn them—he can’t ever look at them again without feeling sick. The pajamas itch on his skin when he realizes he’s wearing the Columbia T-shirt that he left over here from his last bro-sleepover, the shirt that Matt bought him for graduation (his favorite, he wears it when he’s sick or sad and needs something soft and comforting), but he refuses to change again because that would be admitting it matters. It doesn’t matter. It’s just a stupid shirt.
Foggy desperately wants to go down the entirety of Matt's hidden and very impressive liquor cache, but he has to stay awake and watch Matt for signs of a worsening condition, so he’s stuck here sober and scared out of his mind.
He looks down at Matt, who looks more terrible than Foggy feels. He’s currently rocking a mummy chic look, and what little skin isn’t covered is pallid from blood loss. His eyes are darting back and forth under his eyelids, and when he starts muttering under his breath and clenching the sheets in his hands, Foggy swallows down his own anger and fear and sits down on the bed next to him.
“Matt, come on. You’ve got to wake up. We can’t both be having nightmares tonight, okay?” He gives a little hiccuping laugh. “I hate you so much right now, but I still need you to wake up and be okay.”
He reaches out to put a hand on Matt’s cheek. His fingers manage just to brush the skin before Matt’s awake, eyes wild and hand crushing Foggy’s wrist hard enough that Foggy’s worried it’ll shatter.
“Matt!” He yelps, shocked and in pain, and Matt lets go like he’s been burned and scrambles away towards the headboard.
“Foggy?” He whispers hoarsely, and when Foggy nods soundlessly he shudders and buries his face in his knees. “No, no, no. This can’t be happening.”
“Believe me, I’m not exactly thrilled about it either.” Foggy gasps out shakily, flexing his injured wrist to make sure it’s not broken. “But it looks like we don’t get a choice.”
“I hurt you.” Matt’s saying into his knees, horrified. “Oh god, I hurt you.”
Foggy wants to say something scathing about how Matt’s done that a lot tonight, or complain that his wrist might be sprained thanks to Matt, or maybe just give a succinct ‘yeah, asshole’ and leave it at that. He opens his mouth to do so, and then realizes that Matt is, in fact, hyperventilating.
“Matt, whoa, calm down.” Matt’s breathing gets faster, and Claire mentioned some seriously freaky talents but nothing about not needing oxygen. Foggy climbs up into the bed and touches Matt’s knees briefly before tangling a hand in his hair and tugging gently. “Come on, Matt.”
Matt lets his hair be pulled without lashing out again. When Foggy gets a good look at his face, Foggy kind of wants to have a panic attack too. Matt looks like he’s scared out of his mind, and he knows nothing’s going to stop it.
“Come on, Matty. Breathe with me, okay?” Foggy orders, presses their foreheads together. He grabs Matt’s hand, placing it over his own heart, hoping that the rhythm of the heartbeat will help, like a metronome. Matt doesn’t try to break his wrist again, thank god. “In and out. In and out.” It’s not helping. Matt doesn’t even seem to hear him. Foggy searches his mind frantically for something else.
Matt’s a martyr, Foggy remembers thinking. Matt’s a saint. Matt’s a hero. Matt needs to save people, but he doesn’t want to be saved.
“Remember the hospital, when I made my breathing like yours?” Foggy whispers desperately, cupping Matt’s cheeks with his hands and pressing them closer together. “I need you to do that for me now, okay? I need you to help me breathe, Matt, because I’m not doing so good on my own. I need you.” His voice cracks pathetically. “Help me breathe, Matt.”
For a moment or two he doesn’t think it’s working, but then Matt’s breathing slows just a little bit, and then a little more. It takes him maybe three minutes to get back to an acceptable rate, and another two for him to speak.
“Please don’t leave me.” Matt begs, and he sounds so small and lost that Foggy himself can’t breathe for a moment.
“Not a chance.” He whispers fiercely. “You owe me a hell of a story.”
Matt explains about his accident, and his world on fire—“It sounds like infrared, Matt, and maybe echolocation. There’s no need to be dramatic.”—and his nocturnal… extracurricular activities.
Foggy’s dazed by the end, and more than a bit hurt that Matt’s kept all this from him. More than once he tries to get up, get away from it all just for a moment. Matt won’t let him. He keeps their hands clasped together the whole time and every time Foggy tenses, gets ready to stand, he squeezes Foggy’s fingers gently and shakes his head. Just a little more, his eyes plead. Just a little longer.
Foggy squeezes back and listens just a little longer.
Eventually Matt finally seems to run out of secrets to tell, or maybe he just runs out of breath instead.
Foggy stares at the ceiling for a while, trying to convince himself that Matt’s still Matt, even if he’s not quite Matt anymore. He’s almost managed it when Matt squeezes his hand again.
“There’s something else.” Matt says, and he sounds almost as scared as when he woke up and couldn’t breathe.
“Okay.” Foggy replies warily. He might as well get it over with. One more secret is just a drop in the ocean at this point.
Matt pushes himself up slowly. Foggy thinks he might be going to stand, but Matt doesn’t let go of his hand or pull away. Instead, he kneels next to Foggy on the bed and reaches out, tentatively. He taps one finger against Foggy’s wrist in an achingly familiar motion—it’s the one Foggy uses to ask if Matt’s okay with extra contact when he’s leading him. More touching.
Foggy swallows, and nods. He doesn’t have to narrate for Matt anymore, he realizes, but he does it anyway in a hoarse whisper.
Matt smiles unsteadily and runs his hand up Foggy’s arm, over his shoulder. Foggy makes an embarrassing little sound when Matt slowly lets the tips of his fingers slip under the collar of Foggy’s shirt. Matt pauses, tapping gently at Foggy’s collarbone.
Foggy nods, although he can’t quite get the breath to say yes this time.
Matt’s fingers slip further down until they’re resting over Foggy’s heart. Then, deliberately, he traces the word there perfectly, every loop and line.
“You can see it.” Foggy whispers, stunned. “How can you see it?” Matt licks his lips, nervous.
“I can’t do it with anyone else.” He confesses quickly. “Yours is the only one I can see. It’s got to be body heat, I think. The rest of you is red and yellow and orange, but the Mark… it burns white.” He smiles, pained, and traces the word again. “I used to hate it so much. It looked like a brand on your skin and every time I saw it, it reminded me. Hands off. Not yours, never yours.”
“And now you know that means that I am yours.” Foggy says slowly, watching him carefully. Matt’s smile flashes wide and fierce for a moment.
“Yes.” He murmurs hoarsely, tracing the Mark again, and again. He can’t seem to stop. “You have no idea. I must have read that headline a hundred times before I called you. They called me a Devil, and I was so happy I cried.”
“But you didn’t tell me.” Foggy accuses quietly, betrayed. “You knew, and you never told me.”
“I wanted to.” Matt whispers, voice thick with regret. “That’s why I came to see you that morning. It’s why I told you to read ninety pages of nothing—I didn’t want you to read the news. I wanted to tell you myself, to hear your heartbeat when you understood.” Matt pauses, swallowing. The want on his face is so sharp it hurts. “But I couldn’t. I was scared, and after you told me what you thought of me—the other me—I was terrified. What if you said no? What if you hated me?”
Foggy nods slowly, the pieces clicking into place.
“That’s why you were so desperate for me to give the Devil a chance.” He laughs quietly. “Jesus, Matt. I was so mad at you for that. You know why?” Matt shakes his head, guarded. “Because I didn’t care about the Devil. I didn’t want him.” Matt flinches, face pale. Foggy brushes his thumb over the delicate ridge of Matt's cheekbone, smiling softly. “I just wanted you.”
“Oh.” Matt breathes, eyes wide. “You wanted—want?” He gestures to himself messily. Foggy nods, smile widening.
“Very, very much.” Matt blinks down at him.
“Really?” He sounds disbelieving, completely blindsided. “This?” He gestures to himself again. Foggy rolls his eyes.
“Yes, Matt. That.” He waves a hand lazily, mimicking Matt’s gesture. “For a long time, actually. Pretty much as soon as I met you. For a while, I was sort of hoping that your middle name was Lucifer.” He snorts. “Instead, it’s Michael. A freaking archangel, Matt. Do you know how frustrating that was?”
“Sorry?” Matt offers hesitantly. “If it makes you feel any better, I sort of wish my middle name had been Lucifer too. It would have made things a lot easier.”
“It certainly would have.” Foggy tells him primly, but he only manages a moment without smiling. “So, Matthew Michael Murdock, devil o’ mine. Soulmate.” He adds, a little dizzily, tasting how it feels on his tongue. For once it doesn’t taste bitter in his mouth, because it doesn’t mean some stranger to resent for never being there, it means Matt.
Matt shudders, eyes slipping shut for a moment. When he opens them, his eyes are so dilated they’re almost black.
“Can I just—?” He asks, rather nonsensically. He shakes his head like he’s trying to clear it. “I just need to—“
He doesn’t wait for a response, leaning down and pressing a light, gentle kiss over the Mark. It sparks under Foggy’s skin, the hot chocolate heat of before coming back tenfold, just this side of painful—too much, and Foggy gasps from it.
“Do that again.” He begs, voice faint and dazed. Matt smiles and does so, lingering longer this time, dragging his lips just a little upwards before pulling back. Foggy shivers. “Again.” Matt does. “Wow, that’s… intense.”
“Yeah?” Matt asks lowly. He’s grinning lazily up at Foggy, so pleased and loose that he looks almost drugged. “Good?”
“Good.” Foggy agrees quickly, breathlessly. “Great. Perfect. Wow. Matt.” He can’t seem to form a completely sentence, but he thinks he gets his point across. When Matt blushes at the praise, previously smug smile turning a little bashful, Foggy has to yank him up for a kiss.
Matt hums happily, tilting his head and leaning into it. Matt kisses wet and slow, and the whole time he keeps his hand pressed against Foggy’s Mark and sends steady jolts of pleasure down his spine. And Foggy can barely handle it, it’s perfect and more than he’s ever dreamed of, and he presses his hand against Matt’s chest so that he can feel it too—
“I can’t touch you back.” He whispers against Matt’s mouth, shattered. Matt pulls back, smile confused but still content.
“Hm?” He asks, absently. “You’re touching me right now.” Foggy shakes his head. He feels suddenly, bitterly cold.
“No, Matt. I can’t…I can’t touch you back.” He pushes gently against Matt’s chest again, over his heart where there’s… there’s nothing.
There’s nothing anywhere. Matt told him so himself.
“Oh.” Matt murmurs weakly, and then his fingers clench in the fabric of Foggy’s T-shirt and panic blooms on his face. “Oh. No, Foggy. It doesn’t mean anything.” Foggy swallows.
“It means I’m yours.” He says, voice small. “I’m yours, and you’re not…” Mine.
It was different, when he thought that Matt didn’t match him either. It would have been the two of them against the world, fighting the Fates. But now he’s trapped. He’s just as much of a slave to his Mark as he’d always feared. He’s stuck, and Matt’s… not.
Matt makes a low, wounded sound.
“No, that’s not true. I…” He shakes his head, devastated. “I don’t know why I don’t have the Mark to prove it. I should. I should have it over every inch of my skin, because I’m yours, Foggy. Completely.” Foggy can’t answer. Matt leans forward, eyes darting helplessly over Foggy’s face. What does he see? Red, yellow, orange. White. Not mine. Never mine. “Please, Foggy. It doesn’t matter.”
Foggy’s Mark thrums under his skin like a live-wire where Matt’s touching it. It feels like it matters.
“Matt…” Foggy starts quietly, and then finds he can’t think of anything to say. There’s nothing that can make this better. Matt blinks rapidly, throat working, and then he leans forward and buries his face against Foggy’s neck.
“It’s a mistake. They made a mistake, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t…” He takes a shuddery, breath, and Foggy feels warm drops of wetness sliding down the hollow of his throat. Crying. Matt’s crying. “Please. I love you.”
Matt, heavy on top of him. Wetness soaking through the shoulder of Foggy’s shirt. It sparks a memory, one years old and care-worn in his mind. Avocados and blanket forts and an epiphany he promised to never forget.
Matt Murdock is the love of his fucking life, and the world and the Devil can deal with it.
Oh. Foggy gasps and lurches back into motion.
“I love you too.” He whispers, running a tender hand through Matt’s hair. “You’re right. It doesn’t matter. I love you too.”
Matt gives a single, broken sob.
“It’s not fair.” He pulls back, and his cheeks are wet and his eyes are red, and he looks nothing like the Matt who smiled lazily at Foggy and kissed his Mark just minutes before. “I should have one. You should be there.”
“No.” Foggy tells him, shaking his head. “No, I don’t need one. You love me. I know that—I don’t need a Mark to remind me.” Matt looks unconvinced, and Foggy smiles at him and wipes a tear away as it falls. “Hey. You’re it for me, Murdock. You don’t get to chicken out just because you don’t have some silly scribble on your skin.”
“I’m not chickening out.” Matt protests weakly. “You’re it for me too. I just wish…”
Foggy is well aware of Matt’s ability to guilt himself sick. He’s going to have to nip this one in the bud.
“You know,” he drawls casually, “If you really want a mark that badly, I can make you one.” Matt makes a puzzled sound. Foggy taps his fingers gently against Matt’s chest, and then against his collarbone, and then against his neck. “A lot of them, actually. They take some upkeep, but I think that’s part of the fun.”
Matt gapes down at him for a second, shocked. Foggy grins back up at him unrepentantly. After a moment of stunned silence, Matt snorts, and then chuckles, and then laughs loud and wet and only a little too desperate.
“You are horrible at flirting.” He informs Foggy, and Foggy shrugs easily.
“You’re the one who fell in love with me. I guess you’re into bad flirting.” It makes him giddy to say it. Matt’s in love with him. Matt’s in love with him. Years and years of wanting this, and suddenly he gets all of it and more. Matt smiles down at him timidly. He’s still crying. Matt’s an ugly crier—his face gets blotchy and his nose gets red and his eyes tend to water for a while afterward like his body’s not quite sure if he’s done or not.
Foggy thinks that Matt’s probably the most beautiful thing he’s ever seen, blotchy and red and leaky and all.
“I am very into bad flirting.” Matt admits unashamedly, and Foggy laughs.
“I promise once you get past the flirting part, my skills are much more impressive.” He gestures broadly outwards with his hands. “Like, mind? Blown.”
Matt’s smile widens and he leans down until their lips just barely brush.
Foggy has to say, he’s done some of his best work tonight. He’d had to work around Matt’s injuries, and he’d also had to pin Matt down at more than one point when Matt got a little too enthusiastic and almost pulled his stitches. Still, the end result?
He licks lazily at Matt’s shoulder, sparing a moment or two to suck on a bite mark that’s not quite dark enough yet.
“Vampire.” Matt mumbles fondly, and Foggy grins against the mark.
“Well, I do seem to remember sucking you dry earlier tonight, yes. Twice.” He agrees mildly. Matt snorts scathingly, and it’s so completely unattractive that Foggy only wants to kiss him a little bit. Maybe more than a little. Maybe more than a lot.
“You’re lucky you’re cute.” Matt mutters, and then rolls over to tuck himself into Foggy’s side without even bothering to open his eyes. Foggy mourns the loss of the bite mark for a brief moment before turning his attention instead to the delicate shell of Matt’s ear. When Matt swats at him faux-irritably, Foggy catches his hand and kisses the palm, and then presses another quick kiss to the top of Matt's head.
“Love you.” Foggy tells him softly, because it’s been almost five minutes since he said it last and that is clearly far too long. He can just catch the corner of Matt’s shy smile.
“Love you too.” Matt whispers back, and he sounds just as dopily besotted as he did when he said it back five minutes ago. “Now go to sleep. I am not going to be the one to explain to Karen why we’re stumbling into the office looking like zombies later.” Foggy flicks his ear.
“Don’t be an idiot. We’re calling in sick.” He snickers. “Lovesick. It’s contagious.” Matt groans, and Foggy kisses the top of his head again. “Okay, okay. We are calling in sick, though. In fact, I don’t think you should leave the bed at all today. To recover, of course. Maybe try to sweat it out.” He can't help himself.
“Bad flirting.” Matt mutters to himself woefully. “I’ve shackled myself to a lifetime of bad flirting.”
“And exceptionally good everything else.” Foggy points out, and Matt hums agreeably. “Alright, sleep. Love you.” He adds, because he can’t not say it now that he has the chance.
“Love you.” Matt replies easily, already sounding halfway to dreaming.
Foggy watches him for a minute or two. Matt’s lovely like this, hair mussed and kiss-bruised in bed. His lips are still red and fresh-bitten, and they’re curved upwards in a dreamy little smile. He’s still a bit too ragged around the edges, too many too-white bandages wrapped around his skin, but time will take care of that. Foggy smiles and runs a hand down the plane of Matt’s back, careful over the bandages and lingering over the rest. Matt’s got little goose bumps raised near the dimples of his back. and Foggy rubs at them to warm Matt’s skin while he reaches for the blankets.
He’s got them just past Matt’s hips when he realizes that they’re not goose bumps.
“Matt.” Foggy murmurs, shaking him gently awake. Matt grumbles and squints at him. “Turn over, I need to see your back.”
“Why?” Matt grouses, but he turns over without further prompting. Foggy carefully draws his fingers over the skin again, and when he finds what he’s looking for he can’t keep a tiny sob of laughter from bubbling up and out of him.
“Matt, you have a Mark.” Foggy tells him giddily, and Matt rolls over again to face him, grumpy face softening with affection.
“I know. I have two dozen of them, the last time I counted.” He agrees contentedly, poking a particularly large one on his neck. “So do you.”
“No, I mean, you have a Mark. Capital ‘M’.”
Matt goes very still, and then sits up.
“Please don’t joke about that.” He murmurs, voice thin and frail, hunching in a little on himself. “Please.”
“I’m not joking. I wouldn’t joke about that, ever.” Foggy promises him, sitting up too so he can reach Matt more easily. “No, Matt, you’ve got one. Right here.” He runs a finger over Matt’s back, over the word, savoring the feel of it under his fingers. “It’s no wonder we didn’t see it before, because you can’t see it, not unless you know how to look. Matt, it’s in Braille.”
Foggy can’t stop grinning. He feels like it’s going to split his face in half. He laughs again.
“Braille." He repeats to Matt incredulously. "Jesus, Matty, you can't do anything the easy way. You are so lucky I flunked Punjabi for this. Here, hold on.” He sits up, scrambling onto the other side of Matt so that he can get a closer look. From maybe an inch away, he can just barely see them. They’re the same color as the rest of Matt’s skin, and as small as freckles. “Wow, it’s practically invisible. But it’s there, no doubt about it.”
“That’s not possible.” Matt says flatly. “I would have felt it. I would have known.”
“Not if you already 'knew' it wasn’t there.” Foggy points out quietly. When Matt shakes his head, looking sick, Foggy takes his hand. “No, here. I’ll show you.” He gently tugs Matt’s hand behind his back, guiding him. “You start here, and then you just run along to the side here…”
He lets go and climbs back around so he can face Matt again, allowing Matt to feel along the raised bumps. Foggy focuses on Matt’s face instead. He watches as Matt’s lips part and his eyes widen. He watches Matt finish reading the word, and then go back and start again, and there are tears building in Matt’s eyes and a trembling little smile tugging at his mouth, small but filled to the brim with joy.
“It’s your name.” Matt whispers, stretching back awkwardly so that he can press his whole hand over it at once. Foggy beams and reaches over, letting his fingers brush against Matt’s as he rubs his thumb over the first letter, the bold little bumps of an ‘F’ with a great deal of attitude and camouflage skill. “Foggy.”
“Yeah.” Foggy agrees faintly, entranced. “God, Matt, it’s perfect.”
“It’s there.” Matt retorts breathlessly, like that’s even better than perfect. In a way, it is.“You’re there."
"Sure am. Signed for the package and everything." Foggy concurs, teasing gently. Matt ignores him, running his fingers along his back again, shuddering, and ghosting his index finger along the bottom of Foggy's Mark at the same time. It's the lightest touch, barely even there, but Foggy's touching Matt's Mark too and somehow that makes it a million times everything, exploding from fireworks to supernova. Foggy whimpers, hips canting forwards helplessly.
"Well," Matt murmurs, repeating the motion slowly, experimentally. Shudder. Whimper. "This should be fun."
He gives a sudden, savage grin and crushes their mouths together. Foggy makes a little sound that parts his lips, surprised by the strength of the kiss. Matt uses the opportunity to lick into his mouth, presses his hand against Foggy’s Mark until it’s thrumming white-hot under his fingers and under Foggy’s skin. Matt’s been quick to catch on to exactly how sweet that spot is for Foggy, and has been abusing it ruthlessly all night. This time, Foggy gets to return the favor.
Matt gives hitching little moans when Foggy strokes lightly across his name as a whole, and then slowly, purposefully over each letter.
“God, that’s good.” Matt pulls back just long enough to hiss, and then he’s biting hard at Foggy’s lower lip until Foggy gasps and lets him back in. Matt doesn’t stop there, pushing hard directly against the Mark until Foggy’s down onto the bed and Matt’s straddling him, smirking.
“Let’s try that again, shall we?” Matt muses, voice low and dark with promise. “Eyes on me. Hands on me. Mouth on me." He leans down to whisper into Foggy’s ear, hot and sweet. “Go.”
While having sex with Matt is generally pretty damn perfect, having sex with Matt when Matt’s happy, horny and holding him down is... Is. There are no words.
Afterwards, the weak morning sunlight catches in Matt’s hair and highlights the red that’s usually too dark to see. His skin is glowing with a thin sheen of sweat, and he’s stretching his arms above his head and arching his spine languidly, lithe as a panther. When he catches Foggy looking, Matt grins down at him, crooked mouth and wicked eyes.
Devil, Foggy thinks, sharp and sure.
“Devil in the sack.” Foggy murmurs thoughtfully, remembering Matt's suggestion from years ago. Matt gives a startled, delighted laugh—he remembers too—and Foggy shrugs, smiling. “Well, at least it's not false advertisement.” He yanks Matt back down for a kiss.
The universe must have planned a million things out just for this one moment. So many little things all working together and making one work of art. A man with the Devil inside of him. An accident and a message crafted in Braille instead of bold colors and elegant script. Choosing Columbia over NYU on a hunch. Two roommates, one cramped dorm room and the friendship of a lifetime. Avocados. Tiny dots crafting a secret masterpiece on pale skin. Braille.
The Devil really is in the details.