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Foggy’s been turned down before. Honestly, he’s probably been turned down more often than a bedspread at this point. He’d been turned down the first time in kindergarten, when he’d told Suzie Stapleton that he liked her hair and offered to share his graham crackers with her. She’d kicked sand in his face, told him he had cooties, and stolen his graham crackers anyway.

 

This is worse than that.

 

He’d never even planned on telling Matt. He was cool with the whole unrequited love thing. He’s had plenty of practice, starting with Suzie Stapleton. He rocks the whole unrequited love thing and all of its many, many suckitudes. And sure, Matt’s the longest-standing crush (so, so much more than a crush) that he’s ever had, but he’s also the longest functional relationship that Foggy’s managed to hold onto, and he’s not about to throw that down the tube for the chance of some sorely desired macking.

 

Unfortunately Matt and his stupid lie-detecting super ears can’t even let him wallow in peace.

 

It’s a joke, just Matt being the brat that he is, trying to laugh off the fact that he stumbled into Foggy’s apartment at three o’clock in the morning with a busted up lip and a bruised rib.

 

“Honestly man, people are going to think I’m beating you. You’re going to have to testify in my defense when I get nailed for domestic violence.” Foggy jokes because it’s better than crying and begging Matt to put away the mask, please, before Foggy finds him in a body bag instead of on his couch. And Matt laughs and says,

 

“No one would ever believe you hit me, Foggy. You love me too much.”

 

And even without his freaky heartbeat-hearing thing, Matt would probably have figured it out. Foggy’s usually better at hiding it (he’s had a lot of practice), but he’s tired and upset and hurting, and so his laugh is too quick and loud, and so is his heartbeat.

 

Matt freezes.

 

“Oh.”

 

Matt is so kind about it too. He gently prods and pushes and Foggy knows he’s already busted, and he hopes that maybe if Matt knows what he is doing to Foggy he might be more careful.

 

And Matt looks sadder and sadder the more Foggy talks, about law school and inside jokes and Matt being so beautiful it hurts sometimes. By the time Foggy finishes Matt looks gutted, worse than he’s ever looked after a fight.

 

“Foggy.” He whispers. “I can’t… I mean, I don’t… I want…” He scrubs a hand over his face, hissing when it bumps against the split in his lip. He licks it, red and swollen, and looks up at Foggy with eyes so big and pleading, and Foggy has never wanted to kiss him quite so much as he does in that moment. Matt looks like he might cry when he whispers,

 

“I’m so sorry.”

 

The way he says it says more than the words ever could. There is guilt and misery and a thick compassion. Of course, even then, stomach swooping and legs like jelly, Foggy is Foggy. He has to dig the hole deeper, put that final nail in the coffin.

 

“So, nothing? No, like, latent homosexual urges? No subconscious pining that is only now coming to the surface in light of these revelations? Nothing?”  He asks voice going for light and coming out desperate, and Matt really is crying now, like he’s the one getting his heart trampled on.

 

I’m so sorry.” He says again, and Foggy closes his eyes for a moment, hearing the death knell without any bells. Then he takes a deep breath, opens his eyes, and smiles. He knows Matt can’t see it, but Foggy has to do it anyway so he can pretend everything’s okay. Foggy’s heart is broken, but Matt’s ribs are only bruised, and that is the only thing that matters.

 

“It’s okay. I’ll get the iodine.”

 

And Matt doesn’t say anything. He just sits there, crying, while Foggy gets the bandages and the iodine. It’s not okay. Matt must know Foggy’s lying.

 

Matt always knows.

 


 

The first day back is excruciating. For a lawyer living a double life as a masked vigilante, Matt is a remarkably awful liar.

 

Matt says nothing’s wrong when Karen asks him why he’s looking so miserable. Then he gives this horrible car crash of a smile and shuffles off into his office like he’s got the weight of the world on his shoulders.

 

“Catholic guilt.” Foggy says glibly when she asks him. “They’ve always got something to self-flagellate over.”

 

When he and Karen go to get lunch, Matt bows out, saying that he’s packed something, even though he would had to have hidden it in his pockets because he forgot his briefcase. Matt gives that shattered smile again and types away at the keyboard, attached to the computer that is not actually on, until Foggy rolls his eyes and drags Karen out.

 

By the end of the day, Foggy is at the end of his rope.

 

“Look, Matt, you need to relax. I’m not going to jump you, okay? I mean, if I even tried to, I get the feeling I’d be walking away from it a lot worse than you would, freaky ninja powers and all, but it’s a moot point because I’m not going to jump you.” No matter how much Foggy might want to.

 

Matt winces.

 

“That’s not—I mean, I know you wouldn’t do that, it’s just…” Foggy sighs, running a hand through his hair.

 

“Yeah, dude, I get it. It’s weird for you. But it doesn’t have to be. I’m not going to treat you any differently, okay? I mean, the only thing that’s changed is you knowing.” He sighs again, a little lost on what to say to make this better, because he has to make it better. “You knew I loved you, before. You’re my best friend, you know? We love each other. I just happen to be in love with you in addition to the loving you bit. But all you have to think about is the fact that I love you, and not the ‘in’ part.”

 

“That’s not fair to you.” Matt argues, sounding so incredibly guilty that Foggy just wants to hug the stuffing out of him. That probably wouldn’t go over so well right now though, so he lets it slide.

 

“Matt, it’s cool. I would never ask you for something more than you could give. And you already gave me a lot. You’re the best friend a guy could have, Matty. And that’s enough.”

 

“I don’t want this. I don’t want to lose you.” Matt whispers, sounding absolutely wrecked. Foggy shakes his head, and he knows that Matt can ‘see’ it.

 

“Not going to happen. You’re stuck with me, Murdock.”

 

Matt grins at him weakly. It’s still an anemic little thing, but at least it doesn’t look like he’s getting his teeth pulled, the way it was this morning.

 

“I’d like that.”

 


 

It’s another two weeks before Matt’s alter ego shows up, and even then Foggy is almost certain that it only happens because Claire’s out of town and Matt’s desperate.

 

He’s never been Matt’s last resort before. It’s not a good feeling.

 

“Jesus, Matt, what the hell happened to you? You look like you got in a fight with a rabid wood chipper. And lost.” Matt grimaces a little, huffing out one of his little knowing chuckles.

 

“Close enough.” He agrees, and then winces when speaking jostles one of his many wounds.

 

“Great, okay, gonna have to share that story with the class when you’re not basically dead.” Foggy says, already moving forward. “Okay, shirt off. Are you going to need stitches? Because I’ve been practicing on my suits, and let me tell you, once our firm inevitably goes under I have a bright future ahead of me as a tailor.”

 

Matt’s ghost of a smile is brighter now, almost a zombie smile if you look at it right.

 

“Maybe next time. I think butterflies should be enough.” He winces again. “Probably.”

 

“Probably. Fantastic. You’re lucky I went to the store and restocked recently, or you’d be out of luck. Shirt. Off.” He makes an impatient gesture. “I’m gesturing impatiently at you.”

 

“I know.” Matt tells him, amused. That’s better than halfway to croaking, which is what he sounded like on the way in. He obediently pulls off the costume, which, wow, he could be a stripper with moves like that, if the superhero thing doesn't work out.

 

Fucking heartbeat.

 

Matt is a good guy though, he ignores it. Like he’s been doing for the past few years, now that Foggy thinks about it (he tries not to). 

 

Once he gets a good look at Matt’s chest though, he doesn’t need to try to control his heartbeat. It stops for a second, and then starts back up double-time. He has an excuse this time.

 

“You—“ He starts towards Matt, decides that he’d better get the kit first so that he can get started as soon as possible, then decides that he should lead Matt to a chair first so he doesn’t fall over, then remembers that Matt doesn’t need Foggy to lead him anywhere, does he? He doesn’t need Foggy at all, really, not like Foggy needs him. “Sit. I’ll be back.” He hurries off the bathroom, calling over his shoulder, “Butterflies, he tells me. Unless these butterflies come with a built-in healing factor, we’re going to need a lot more than butterflies. Christ, you vigilantes are all the same.”

 

“You know many other vigilantes?” Matt calls after him, and Foggy ducks back into the room, his depressingly well-stocked first aid kit in one hand.

 

“Oh, loads. My witty banter and grade-A sewing skills are in high demand among the hero crowd.”

 

“I’ll bet.” Matt says, and he’s joking but there’s a note of such genuine, bone-deep fondness there that it melts Foggy’s heart. Is it any wonder he’s in love with this guy? “I’m not interrupting one of your many appointments with the ‘hero crowd’, am I?” Foggy snorts.

 

“I’d have kicked you out by now if you were.” He replies, not mentioning the fact that his social life pretty much consists of Matt and Karen, and occasionally Marci when she’s not busy crushing him under the heel of her tastefully professional pumps. “I’m all yours tonight. I’d have made a cake if I knew it was going to be a party.”

 

“Your cake is probably more dangerous than the Hungarian mafia.” Matt tells him, smiling, and then frowning a second later when he realizes what he said.

 

“Dude.” Foggy says, worried and fascinated in equal measure. “The Hungarians have a mafia? I didn’t even know Hell’s Kitchen had Hungarians, let alone enough to make a crime syndicate.”

 

“They’re new on the scene.” Matt explains, and the amount of frustration in his voice makes Foggy want to shake him. He’s seriously beating himself up over the fact that he couldn’t take down an entire mob before they even existed? Seriously?

 

“Well, I guess there’s room to grow what with all the other mafias you’ve put out of business.” Foggy says briskly, not bothering to hide the pride in his voice. Matt needs it sometimes, needs to know someone’s in his corner. “You need anything for the pain?”

 

“Do I ever?” Matt asks rhetorically, and shifts so that Foggy can get at the cuts, pointing out the worst ones without even needing to be asked. “It’s just, sometimes it feels like for every one I stop, another ten are there to take their place. Sometimes I wonder—“

 

“Don’t.” Foggy tells him sharply. Matt stops, eyebrows drawing up in surprise. Foggy dabs at one of Matt’s cuts, avoiding Matt’s eyes even though he knows he doesn’t have to. “Look, man, I hate that you get hurt, okay? We’ve established that. But you’re doing a lot of good out there. You know you are, or you wouldn’t still be doing this. And I think… I think you might need this.” Matt tenses, and Foggy doesn’t think it’s from the pressure Foggy’s putting on the cut to stop the ooze of blood. “No, Matt, listen. You’ve always wanted to do more, you know? You became a lawyer to help people. I mean, you’d be doing 100% pro bono work if I didn’t stop you. And this is sort of like an extension of that. I get it. I mean, if I were some sort of awesome super ninja I’d probably be out there fighting crime right beside you—“

 

“No!” Foggy almost overbalances, startled by the loudness of Matt’s reply. He sounds… not angry, exactly, but something like it. “No, Foggy.” He says it sharply and firmly, like he’s telling a dog not to eat scraps off the table. It’s sort of insulting, actually. “Not you.”

 

“Seriously?” Foggy asks, incredulous. “Are you seriously laying down the law about my fictional vigilantism? While I’m supposed to just sit here and look pretty and not think about the fact that you’re bleeding out on my couch?”

 

“I’m not bleeding out.” Matt mutters, and Foggy presses down hard enough to make him hiss. “And it’s different. You’re not like me.”

 

“What the hell does that mean? Here, hold. I’m wrapping.” He presses Matt’s fingers down on the bandage as he goes to circle it around Matt’s chest, hating that he knows how much pressure to add to make the bandage support without constricting.

 

“Just—you’re good, okay? You can’t even hurt a fly.”

 

“How would you know?” Foggy mutters mutinously, but doesn’t deny it. He hadn’t killed that fly earlier this week, had spent a good minute waving it out of the office with his newspaper, to Karen’s great amusement. Apparently Matt had been watching—listening, whatever—too.

 

“The point is, I don’t just… need it.” Matt says the word like it’s poison, and Foggy knows he hates admitting to anything of the sort. “I like it.”

 

Matt bows his head, like he’s waiting for Foggy to chop it off for daring to acknowledge one of his many, many issues. Foggy snorts.

 

“Yeah, Matt, I know.” Matt’s head snaps up, lips parted in shock. Foggy smiles at him, a little weary and not bothering to hide it because Matt’s super senses could probably tell if he did. “We’ve known each other forever. I do actually pay attention.”

 

“How can you just say it like it’s nothing?” Matt whispers hoarsely. “Like it doesn’t matter?” Foggy ties off the bandage at the top but leaves his hand on Matt’s shoulder, squeezing lightly where he knows there’s no bruising.

 

“It’s not nothing, Matt, but it’s you. Yeah, you like to fight. You have a temper. That’s not the important part. The important part’s how you use it, and you use it to fight the forces of evil on your lunch break. That’s pretty cool.” He squeezes again. “You’re pretty cool too, Murdock. You know, when you’re not schooling me on the intricacies of Harry Potter politics like a total dweeb.”

 

That startles a snort out of Matt. Foggy might be engaging in wishful thinking, but he thinks Matt leans into his hand, just a little.

 

“The fact that you can actually keep up when I’m schooling you on Harry Potter politics proves that you’re just as much of a dweeb as I am.” He retorts, and Foggy laughs.

 

“Did I ever deny it?” He asks, gesturing to himself grandly. “I am a total dweeb, I just happen to be of the ridiculously attractive variety, where our innate geekiness actually serves as a potent aphrodisiac to other, compatible dweebs.”

 

“Am I that variety?” Matt asks quietly, and Foggy freezes. For a second he wants to snap at Matt, pull away and ask him why the hell he has to twist the knife when it’s already in so deep. Then he sees the hesitant look on Matt’s face, and he realizes that it’s not a joke. Well, not really. Matt’s curious, and he’s doing that stupid adorable puppy face like he’s afraid you’re going to slam the door on his stupid adorable puppy head.

 

Matt’s an idiot. Foggy knew this, but he’s learning how very true it is more and more every day. Matt is an idiot who is emotionally stunted in all the worst ways and who doesn’t seem to realize how attractive he is, even when people fawn over him every day. Matt is an idiot who trusts Foggy to tell him the truth, and to not hurt him.

 

“Yeah, Matty.” He sighs, smiling up at him only a little sadly. “Yeah, you are definitely of that variety.”

 

“Good.” Matt says, and his smile looks like the sun breaking out on a cloudy day.

 

Foggy is seriously fucked.

 


 

On the four-month anniversary of Matt’s discovery of Foggy’s inconvenient feelings, Foggy goes to a bar. He's not planning to get wasted, but tipsy sounds like a pretty damn good idea right now.

 

“I’m so sorry.” He imagines Matt saying, right beside him. He’s heard that a lot, over the past four months, mostly when he’s trying to sleep. Matt’s been great, he’s been so supportive of Foggy’s inconvenient feelings, but no matter how many times Matt says everything’s fine, Foggy still finds himself hearing “I’m so sorry” and it still hurts just as much.

 

“I’m so sorry.” He imagines Matt continuing to talk: ‘I’m so sorry I didn’t say anything before, but I’m just as stupidly in love with you as you are with me, and we should go back to my apartment and discuss our passionate feelings in between bouts of kissing and maybe some other fun activities.’ “I don’t want to bother you, but is this seat taken?”

 

…And that’s not Matt talking.

 

Foggy blinks up at the man who’s smiling down at him sheepishly. He’s stupidly good-looking, almost as stupidly good-looking as Matt but in an entirely different way. Tall, probably over six-foot, and a good deal wider than Matt although probably not nearly as toned—fighting crime tends to pay off in terms of fitness. Clean shaven face, hair so blonde it’s nearly white and a set of pearly whites to match, bright enough to catch the dim light of the bar. And eyes, wow blue eyes, clear-bright-sky-on-a-summer-day blue eyes. Wow.

 

“Only by my woes, and they’d probably stiff me on the bill anyway.” Foggy says, waving the guy down after what probably looked like some serious ogling. Truthfully, Foggy’s just got this masochistic tendency to compare every attractive guy he meets to Matt in order to find them lacking and give himself even more reason to moon.

 

“Yikes. Bad night?” The man asks, gingerly setting himself on the stool that is much to small for his—wow, he is built—frame. Foggy shrugs, smile melancholy.

 

“Bad month.” He replies. “Actually, bad four months. Today. Huzzah.” He toasts the world at large and takes a sip of his beer. The man winces in sympathy.

 

“Job trouble?” He waves down the waitress and asks for a Scotch, neat, and another of whatever Foggy’s drinking. It’s a nice gesture from a total stranger, and Foggy grins at him in thanks. Since it’s straight from the bartender, he’ll even risk drinking it with no worries about roofies. He is totally roofie material, no lie.

 

“No—well, yes, but that’s nothing new. And I like my job, it’s just… not as lucrative as advertised. Lawyer.” He supplies when the man looks at him askance.

 

“I thought you guys were all filthy rich.” The man asks, smiling wryly. Foggy laughs.

 

“No, see, you have to sell your soul to get the dough. Matt would never let me—“ And as suddenly as he forgot, he remembers why he’s here. “Ugh. Matt.” He groans, hitting his head once on the counter. “Stupid, pretty Matt.”

 

“Ah. Guy troubles.” The man says sagely, not even blinking at the thought of Foggy being into a man. Foggy decides he likes this guy—not many people would go with the flow like that, even the ones who are cool with it. People like to ask questions.

 

“More than you could imagine.” Foggy agrees glumly. The man smiles sympathetically, leaning forward and taking a sip of his drink.

 

“Try me.”

 

And well, it’s not like he’ll ever see this guy again, and he would really like the chance to unload on somebody without consequences. Foggy would leave out the crime-fighting bits, obviously, but there’s plenty to talk about even with some significant editing. And this dude seems nice enough. He hasn’t gotten scared off yet, at least.

 

“Okay, so, it started like this…”

 

The man—John, as Foggy finds out about halfway through his story when he abruptly realizes he never actually introduced himself—is actually a great listener, nodding and humming in all the right places and not even looking bored. He’s either a great liar, or he’s actually interested. Foggy isn’t sure which one is more improbable.

 

“I think the guy’s crazy.” John tells him frankly when Foggy’s finished. That surprises a laugh from him.

 

“Oh, you have no idea.” He says, thinking of all the trouble Matt gets himself in with his crazy, ridiculously noble ideas. “But that’s one of the things I love about him.”

 

The man blows out a sharp breath.

 

“You have it bad.” Foggy groans, burying his face in his hands.

 

“I know, I know.” John taps at his empty bottle with a long finger.

 

“Another drink?” Foggy wants to say yes, get so smashed that he doesn’t have to think about his tragic love life, but he knows it’s a bad idea. He’ll just regret it in the morning, and if he drinks too much, he’ll either have to rely on John to get him home or else call Matt or Karen. Calling Matt would just be embarrassing, Karen would tell Matt and that would be even more embarrassing, and he doesn’t know John well enough to trust him.

 

“Nah, I should be getting home.” He looks up at John from the cradle of his arms. “Thanks though. I needed this.”

 

John grins down at him.

 

“It was fun. I had a good time.” Foggy laughs, pushing himself up.

 

“You, my friend, are a twisted human being. Listening to someone else bitch for an hour should not be anyone’s idea of a good time.”

 

“You’re a very good story-teller.” The man compliments, denying the accusation. “Actually, I wouldn’t mind hearing a few more stories… Maybe over dinner?”

 

Foggy blinks at him, because the guy lowered his voice when he said the word ‘dinner’, and he’s inclining his head a little so that he can look up at Foggy through his eyelashes (not as long as Matt’s, but then eyelash models don’t have lashes as long as Matt’s). And he’s leaning in, angling his body towards Foggy. It all points to one thing.

 

“Are you really asking me out after listening to me talk for over an hour about how much I’m in love with someone else?” He asks, genuinely startled. “Sorry, that sounded rude, it’s just…” John grins at him.

 

“It doesn’t have to be a date, although I’d like it if it was.” He says, easily baring his intentions. “Either way, I think you could use some time getting this guy off your mind, maybe going out for a reason other than drowning your sorrows. Have some fun, you know.”

 

“So you’re saying that you would actually like to make an appointment to listen to me babble some more? And you’d like it to be a date, even though you know that I’m off the market for all intents and purposes?” John nods, smiling.

 

“I said I had fun. The way I see it, worst case I end up with a new friend. Best case I manage to get something more.” He shrugs. “Win-win.”

 

“This is crazy.” Foggy says, running a hand through his hair. “This is such a bad idea.”

 

“But you’re going to say yes.” John predicts, and Foggy blows out a breath, smiling down at him wryly.

 

“But I’m going to say yes.” He agrees. It’s a bad idea, but it’s not the worst he’s ever had.

 

The worst one would be falling in love with Matt Murdock.

 


 

John is nice. Foggy’s not fooling himself—he knows that he’s not getting over Matt anytime soon (or ever), but John’s a good listener, and he’s smart and funny and clearly interested in Foggy, which is great for his ego.

 

John doesn’t even appear to mind that Foggy’s in love with someone else.

 

“This whole thing was my idea.” He explains when Foggy asks about it. “We have fun, we flirt, and there’s no pressure since I have no chance. I like you, but I’m not going to rip myself to pieces because you’re not madly in love with me.”

 

Foggy is amazed at how easy-going John is about everything. It’s a nice change from the twists and turns of being the legal partner and emergency medic of a suicidal superhero.

 

He’s affectionate too, hugging hello and goodbye, and Foggy knows he could probably ask for more than a hug and get it but he just… he doesn’t. The hugs are nice, but even they make him feel a little guilty, like he’s cheating on Matt even though they’re not together. If there was no attraction involved, he probably wouldn’t care, but the fact is that John is super-hot. Confident, sexy blondes are Foggy’s type, with the glaring exception of dark-haired, dorky Matt. And when a hot guy hugs you and lingers a little, and you know he’d be totally cool with doing a lot more than hugging you, there tends to be a little temptation. Especially when you’ve been celibate for going on a year.

 

They’re just wrapping up a case—simple B&E, guy didn’t do it, Matt proved it using shady methods that Foggy had to back up using legal ones—and Foggy’s putting away the file when Matt asks abruptly,

 

“Did you start wearing cologne?” Foggy glances up as he slides the folder away in the filing cabinet and locks the drawer.

 

“Why would I wear cologne? I thought you said it gave you a headache.” He lifts his arm and sniffs discretely. “Or are you hinting that I should start wearing cologne? Because I’m not sure that’s in the budget.” He can barely afford shampoo when it’s on sale.

 

“No, I like the way you smell.” Matt says, like that’s not both the creepiest and sweetest thing Foggy’s heard all day. He makes a mental reminder to stock up on the sale shampoo when he gets the chance. “Sorry, maybe Karen started using something new.”

 

“She does tend to splurge when she gets her paycheck.” Foggy agrees. “It’s not bad, is it? Because telling your friend that her perfume makes you sick is not a fun conversation to have.”

 

“It’s not awful.” Matt says slowly. “Just… different.”

 

“Well, alright then.” Foggy says, grabbing his coat. “I’ll head out then, grab something to eat before I keel over and sleep for a year.”

 

“We could get Wei’s.” Matt offers. “I’ll even pay since you won the case for us.” Foggy shakes his head.

 

“Team effort, definitely.” He denies, and he almost says hell yes, order him the lo mein, when he remembers. “Oh, but I can’t tonight. I have a thing.” He’s not quite sure how to classify what he does with John. Flirt-with-a-friend-to-avoid-thinking-about-flirting-with-you-session doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue.

 

Matt, who has already tugged his coat on and turned towards the door, freezes.

 

“Oh?” He asks lightly, not turning around. “A thing?” Foggy nods, biting hip lip for a second. “What kind of thing?” Foggy hesitates, and then bites the bullet.

 

“A date thing.” He admits. Maybe this is a good thing. Maybe if Matt thinks Foggy’s moving on he’ll feel less guilty. A guilty Matt is not good for Foggy’s health, because a guilty Matt punishes himself by picking fights he doesn’t have to and getting himself hurt.

 

“First date?” Matt checks casually. Foggy pulls on his jacket slowly.

 

“No.” He confesses sheepishly. “Third date.”

 

“Third… And you didn’t tell me?” Matt sounds a little hurt, finally turning towards Foggy. He’s frowning, and he’s got the little eyebrow furrow that means he’s more upset than he lets on. Foggy shrugs uncomfortably.

 

“I was going to, if it became a thing. It’s not serious right now.” It probably won’t ever be. Matt looks like he wants to ask a million questions. He’s a lawyer, he’s used to grilling people and getting information out of them. Foggy’s expecting to be asked John’s SSN, date of birth, criminal record, but instead what Matt asks, low and soft is,

 

“Does he wear cologne?”

 

Foggy’s eyes dart down towards his coat, which he remembers now wearing to his last date-thing with John. It must still have a little of the stuff lingering on the fibers, probably from the prolonged embrace John had given him on the way out of the restaurant—little bit of leaning, very nice.

 

“Uh, yeah, actually. I think he does.” He sniffs the coat to see if he can detect anything, but it just smells like coat to him. “I can ask him to tone it down, if you want. John won’t mind.”

 

“Oh, you don’t need to do that on my account.” Matt says, but he sounds odd. Foggy shakes his head.

 

“No way, Matt. I don’t want you sneezing every time you get within ten feet of me. It’s fine. John really won’t care.” Matt smiles unsurely.

 

“Maybe.” He says softly. “It’s not horrible, it just… it doesn’t smell like you.”

 

“Okay.” Foggy says, a little strangled. “Yeah, it’s okay.” So Matt really does like the way he smells. That’s… cool. Matt smiles at him tentatively.

 

“So… John?” He asks, and Foggy nods.

 

“Yeah. John Lakatos. He’s nice, you’d like him.” But they are never going to meet if Foggy can help it, because he’s not entirely sure John won’t bring up Foggy’s feelings for Matt and Matt does not need someone else guilting him—Matt does that enough on his own.

 

“Really?” Matt says, and he sounds skeptical. It’s a little insulting, because Foggy has really good taste in friends, thank you very much. Case in point, right here. “Well, I guess I might get a chance to, if things go well.”

 

Not bloody likely.

 

“Yeah, maybe.” Foggy agrees neutrally. He glances at the clock, and is completely relieved to see that he should have left five minutes ago. He needs to get out of this conversation, ASAP. “Well, I’ll be late if I don’t get going. I’ll see you tomorrow, okay?”

 

Matt nods, turning to look after Foggy when Foggy brushes past him.

 

“Sure.” He agrees quietly. “Have a good time.”

 

Foggy really wants Wei’s and lo mein and Matt, but he makes himself keep walking anyway.

 


 

Foggy’s not-date actually does go well. So does his next one, and his next.

 

On his sixth not-date, Matt calls him halfway through appetizers.

 

“Do you think I could sleep at your place tonight?” Matt asks him, and Foggy pulls his phone away from his ear for a moment to blink at it. His brain melts a little, and he wants to say ‘god yes, every night’ but that’s not cool, platonic best friend talk like he promised Matt.

 

“Sure.” He says, trying to sound casual. Then he frowns. “Wait, why? Is something up?”

 

“No, no.” Matt assures him, but he doesn’t sound very sure at all. “I just… my apartment’s across town and I’m pretty tired.”

 

“Are you okay?” Foggy asks, worried. “What does ‘tired’ mean? Like, sleepy? Or…” Or hurt, he doesn’t say, because John’s looking at him curiously from across the table.

 

“I’m not hurt.” Matt promises, and then ruins it by muttering, “Mostly.”

 

“Oh, for the love of—hold on, I’ll be home soon.” Foggy tells him, and he ignores Matt’s protests and hangs up. “Sorry, I’m so sorry. That was rude, but Matt’s not having a great night, so…”

 

John’s giving him an odd little smile.

 

“No, it’s fine.” He says slowly, and when Foggy blinks at him he adds neutrally, “I’ve just never heard you talk to him before.” He shrugs. “Your voice sounds different.”

 

“Oh.” Foggy says dumbly, because he’s never noticed that. Matt’s never said anything. “Like, weird?”

 

“No.” John pauses. “Just different. Softer. You sounded happy.” Foggy blushes. It is that obvious how happy Matt makes him? Does Matt hear it? Does it make him uncomfortable?

 

“Yeah, well.” Foggy deflects, uncomfortable. “So, I hate doing this, but would you mind?” He nods towards the door, and John smiles, shaking his head.

 

“Nah, go get your man.”

 

“He’s not my man.” Foggy denies, but he’s already standing and grabbing his coat. John laughs.

 

“If you say so.” John mimes holding a phone to his ear. “Call me when you get him sorted out, okay? Let me know you got in okay.”

 

“Absolutely.” John grins.

 

“I’ll get your food boxed up. Maybe you can come over later and heat it up?”

 

It’s pretty clear he’s not talking about heating up the food. Foggy hesitates. He’s never gone over to John’s place. Truth be told, he’s not sure it’s a good idea. John’s pretty charming, and Foggy’s a little worried if John gets him alone, Foggy might do something he regrets.

 

“Maybe.” 

 


 

Matt’s lying in Foggy’s bed when he gets home. Foggy thinks he might be asleep, but even as he slips his shoes off quietly Matt’s eyes flicker open.

 

“Hey.” Matt tells him softly, and Foggy smiles at him only a little soppily.

 

“Hey.” He says back, and he sees that Matt’s not wearing his Daredevil outfit. He’s dressed in the same clothes Foggy saw him in today in the office, actually, the cream button-up and the dark green tie that brings out his eyes. Foggy hadn’t been able to take his eyes off him.

 

Now his clothes are rumpled and his tie is loose, but Foggy still can’t stop staring. It doesn’t help that Matt’s looking rumpled and loose in Foggy’s bed.

 

“So, what’s up? Bad night?” Matt doesn’t look hurt, but that doesn’t mean anything. Matt’s good at pretending he’s not hurt.

 

“A little.” Matt admits quietly. “No bumps or bruises, but it was… it was a long night.”

 

“Hey, look at you.” Foggy tells him fondly, sitting down on the bed next to Matt and pulling the tie in his knot free. “A whole night safe and sound. I like it—let’s do that more often.”

 

Matt smiles at him.

 

“I’ll try.” He promises, and then hesitates. “Sorry, you were busy, weren’t you?”

 

Foggy waves him off.

 

“Nah, John was cool with it.” He assures Matt, and Matt’s smile thins a little.

 

“Out again.” He notes mildly. “That’s what, five dates?”

 

“Uh, six actually. Seven if you count the night we met.” Matt nods, face placid.

 

“So, getting a little serious?” Foggy shrugs.

 

“I don’t know.” He says, because he’s actually considering taking up John’s offer for ‘leftovers’. “Maybe.”

 

“You haven’t had him sleep over yet.” Matt murmurs hesitantly, and Foggy blinks at him.

 

“Uh, how did you—oh, god, can you smell that?” Matt flushes. “Wow, okay.” Foggy takes a moment to recover from the fact that Matt can smell when Foggy’s had sex. “Um, no. Not, not yet.” Not ever, now that he knows Matt can smell it. That’s a little too weird.

 

“Okay.” Matt says quietly, almost to himself. “That’s okay.” Okay that Foggy hasn’t slept with John, or okay if Foggy wants to?

 

He doesn’t want to ask. Both are not rabbit holes he wants to go down.

 

“Yeah.” He agrees, although he’s not sure what he’s agreeing to. He clears his throat and claps his hands. “So, you hungry after a long night fighting crime?” Matt smiles shyly, nodding. “Good. I think I owe you some Chinese food.”

 

“Wei’s?” Matt perks up, looking hopeful, and Foggy laughs.

 

“Only the best for you, buddy.” He agrees, pushing himself up from the bed. “You’re looking a little skinny, so we’re getting two orders of the egg rolls, and you are eating one of them.”

 

“Alright.” Matt says comfortably, sitting up. He smiles up at Foggy, and Foggy feels guilty when he thinks that he’s glad he skipped dinner for this. Fancy filet mignon is nice, but greasy take-out with Matt?

 

Is perfect.

 


 

Matt eats the egg rolls, grinning at Foggy the whole time. They watch horrible action movies, and Foggy describes the fight scenes to Matt so that Matt can make fun of them.

 

“I don’t know, Murdock. You talk a good game, but I’ve never actually seen your skills firsthand.” Foggy teases as he tosses the empty boxes away in the kitchen. He considers that for a moment. “Actually, why haven’t I? You never show off or anything.”

 

Matt tenses, looking a little uncomfortable.

 

“I don’t know.” He says carefully. “It’s just—it feels like a different part of me. I feel like a different person when I’m… I’m in the mask.” He smiles at Foggy sadly. “I don’t know if I really want you to know that person.”

 

“Well, that’s stupid.” Foggy tells him frankly. “I already know that person. I patch him up at least once a week and tell him how dumb and reckless he is.”

 

“Seeing what I do before I get here is different. I don’t want you to see the fighting.” Matt argues. “I’m not sure you’d like it.” He looks completely sure, actually. Completely sure that Foggy would hate it, which is ridiculous.

 

Foggy watches Matt for a moment.

 

“Can I ask you something?” Matt nods cautiously. “Why did you assume I was asking about fighting?”

 

“What?” Matt asks, confused. “You just said so.” Foggy shakes his head, frowning.

 

“No…” He says slowly. “I said I wanted to see your ‘skills’. I’m assuming your senses don’t just switch on when you’re throwing punches.” Matt blinks at him.

 

“Well, no. But what else would you want to see?” He sounds like he can’t possibly imagine what his gifts could be for except for fighting. Foggy hates it.

 

“Like, a million other things?” He offers. “I don’t know. Let me think.” He looks around the kitchen for inspiration. He already knows Matt can hear amazingly well, and smell and taste too (which makes he fact that he actually likes Wei’s slightly disturbing). Really, the only thing Foggy hasn’t seen yet is reflexes, which is kind of a big piece of the puzzle considering the fact that Matt’s basically a ninja. But Matt doesn’t want to fight, and honestly? Foggy doesn’t want him to either.

 

So what…

 

“Oh! Marshmallows! I want to see marshmallows." He cries, delighted. Matt’s followed him into the kitchen, and he makes a curious noise when Foggy grabs the bag and rips it open. “I got these for snacking, but this is a way better idea.” He turns towards Matt, grinning. “We, my friend, are going to play a game.”

 

“A game… with marshmallows?” Matt asks, sounding confused and not a little wary. “Like what?” Foggy beams at him.

 

“You can catch them! Like, Pac-Man style.” Matt blinks.

 

“You want to pelt me with marshmallows so that I can try to catch them…. In my mouth?”  

 

“Yeah! Let's see those mad reflexes.” Foggy enthuses. When Matt keeps looking doubtful, Foggy prods gently, “Come on, Matt. It’ll be fun.” He grins slyly. “Unless you don’t think you can do it.”

 

Matt makes an offended sound.

 

“Of course I can do it.” He claims huffily. “Fine. Throw the marshmallow.” He opens his mouth expectantly, and he looks so ridiculous and resolute that Foggy has to take a moment to laugh at him.

 

“Okay, here we go.” He lobs the first one gently, as close to Matt’s mouth as he can without smacking him on the nose. Matt barely has to turn his head to catch it. He chews triumphantly.

 

“That the best you’ve got?” He taunts, and Foggy tosses another marshmallow in retaliation. Matt catches that one, and the next ten, with ease. “That’s actually pretty cool.” Foggy admits after a particularly intense limbo motion Matt executes to catch the last one. “It’s like you’re in the Marshmallow Matrix.” Matt grins at him smugly, swallowing the last of the treat.

 

“You wanna go?” He asks, nodding at the bag, and Foggy considers.

 

“I guess if I screw up, you won’t be able to tell.” He muses thoughtfully. Matt snorts.

 

“I could totally tell.” He claims, and Foggy shrugs easily.

 

“It won’t really matter—I’m not going to screw up.” He smirks. “You’re not the only one with marshmallow mojo skills, Murdock.”

 

Matt seems skeptical, but after a dozen perfect catches, he looks pretty impressed.

 

“Your turn.” Foggy tells him, and takes the marshmallows.

 

They end up eating the entire bag, and Foggy’s dealing with a serious sugar rush when they collapse back onto the couch.

 

“Wow, it’s almost like you have superpowers!” He teases Matt, and Matt grins. He looks so happy that he’s practically vibrating—although, to be fair, that could also be a result of all the sugar. Foggy smiles at him, touching his shoulder. “Seriously, Matt. You’re amazing.”

 

Matt’s grin softens to something a little dopey.

 

“You too.” He hesitates. “Foggy?” Foggy hums. “I… want to tell you. I think…I think I might…no, I do. I do. I l—“ He stops, swallows. “I love—“ He stops again.

 

“Hmm?” Foggy asks, turning towards him with a lazy smile. “What’d you say, Matty?”

 

Matt closes his eyes and shakes his head once, sharply. His smile looks a little forced.

 

“I just wanted to say that I love marshmallows.” He whispers hoarsely. “I really, really love marshmallows.”

 


 

Matt is most definitely not a lightweight, which is why it’s so startling to get a call from him at one in the morning, asking for help getting home and sounding more than a little drunk.

 

Foggy goes, even though it’s one in the morning and he was having a really good dream. He figures seeing Matt in person is better.

 

Foggy wonders if alcohol screws with Matt’s super senses, because he keeps bumping into and leaning against Foggy the whole way. In addition to being a clumsy drunk, Matt is also apparently a chatty one.

 

“You’re perfect, you know?” He whispers in Foggy’s ear as Foggy hefts most of Matt’s weight up the stairs to his apartment. “I mean, perfect.”

 

“Yes, Matt, I am aware. But if you’d like to keep stroking my ego, go on ahead.” Foggy teases, shuffling them up another flight.

 

“No, I mean, you’re perfect. Like, perfect everything. Perfect roommate, perfect lawyer, perfect friend. Best friend I ever had. The most perfect person I ever met.” Foggy laughs to hide the skip of his heart. He might succeed, since Matt’s super skills seem a little dampened in his current state of ‘three sheets to the wind’.

 

“You, my friend, clearly need to get out more.”

 

“No. Nope.” Matt says, mouth still far too close to Foggy’s ear. “Nobody’s… nobody’s as good as you are. Nice. Perfect.”

 

“Well, okay then. You’re pretty nice yourself.” Foggy says, fumbling with the keys for Matt’s door. He’s trying to avoid saying anything incriminating, because even plastered Matt’s subconscious lawyer super brain is probably recording this all for future blackmail. On that note, maybe Foggy should grab his phone and bring up the audio whenever Matt’s giving him sass.

 

“No, ‘m not.” Matt argues, morose. “I wanna be, but I’m not.”

 

“Objection. You are friends with me, which makes you awesome by association.” Foggy says, finally getting the door open with his foot and dragging Matt inside. “Careful with your stick.” He says, taking it from where it dangles by its strap from Matt’s wrist and leaning it against the door. He’d bring it with Matt to the bedroom, but it’s not like the man needs it and it keeps bumping into Foggy’s shins in the most annoying way. The man hasn’t used it once on the way back, instead choosing to cling to Foggy like Velcro.

 

“’S true. You are awesome. Perfect.” Matt agrees, and Foggy wishes he’d stop using that word because Matt keeps sighing it in this soft, low way that makes Foggy’s heart skip a beat every time. “Bed?”

 

Foggy swallows at the breathy, sleepy way Matt says it. More a whisper than anything, breath fanning out over the curl of Foggy’s ear and down the back of his neck.

 

“Yeah, buddy, you got it. Bed.” He croaks, and levers Matt that way.

 

Matt pretty much collapses when they reach the mattress, and then is generally unhelpful. Foggy stops trying to prod him into assisting after a minute or two and just tugs Matt’s shoes off himself. It’s warm, so Foggy probably doesn’t have to get him under the covers. Still, he might strangle himself with his tie…

 

Matt’s fingers clutch around his with speed that Foggy really should have expected but still manages to be surprised by. Matt’s eyes are wide, no longer hidden by the red-tinted glasses that Foggy has set aside on the nightstand. They look past Foggy for a moment before locking on to his. Heat-seeking, Foggy thinks. A world on fire.

 

“Love you, you know.” Matt murmurs. “So much. Should have told you before.”

 

Foggy exhales sharply.

 

“Yeah?” He breathes, because maybe he didn't get this call, maybe this is still a dream. Or maybe, just maybe…

 

“Didn’t know. Didn’t… didn’t know about marshmallows.” Matt adds somewhat nonsensically, voice sleep-slurred. “Should have known. You’re my best friend. Love you.”

 

Wow, friend-zoned like a boss. Alright then. No drunken confessions of eternal devotion tonight. Well, not the romantic kind. But still…

 

“Yeah, love you too.”

 

It’s enough.

 


 

Matt calls him again on his next dinner with John. Actually, Foggy’s standing outside the restaurant waiting for him when his phone goes off.

 

“Sorry, I forgot you were seeing John tonight.” Matt says contritely when Foggy tells him where he is. “I can probably do it myself. Do you still have the sutures from last time?”

 

“Don’t even think about it.” Foggy yelps, because Matt is not going to be stitching himself up on Foggy’s watch. “Why isn’t Claire doing this for you?”

 

Matt pauses for a moment.

 

“…I couldn’t get ahold of her.” He explains finally. “But since you’re on a date, I can do it. Don’t worry about it.”

 

Except now Foggy’s going to be spending the whole night doing exactly that.

 

“No, just—no. Do not touch the sutures, Matt. I’ll be there in twenty minutes.”

 

Matt mumbles a thank-you and hangs up. Foggy sighs and dials John.

 


 

Matt doesn’t need stitches. Actually, it’s a relatively small cut—Foggy has no idea why Matt thought it would need stitches. It stops bleeding after only a few minutes of pressure, and they’ve got his arm bandaged up nice and tidy in no time.

 

Still, it’s late and Matt looks tired, so Foggy offers to let him stay the night. Matt readily agrees, although he apologizes another three times about ruining Foggy’s date while doing so.

 

Matt’s got clothes at Foggy’s apartment, so they both change into pajamas and then watch guilty pleasure chick flicks while eating ice cream out of the carton. Foggy gives exaggerated and often erroneous description of the actors’ expressions and Matt gives those stupid little snorting laughs that are honestly too cute for Foggy’s health.

 

Matt talks and laughs all through While You Were Sleeping and Sleepless in Seattle, but when they get to the end of Pride and Prejudice, Matt gets very quiet.

 

You must know... surely, you must know it was all for you.” Darcy is saying, low and earnest.

 

Foggy sighs and takes a bite of his ice cream. God, he loves this part.

 

It has taught me to hope as I'd scarcely allowed myself before.” Darcy continues passionately. “If your feelings are still what they were last April, tell me so at once. My affections and wishes have not changed, but one word from you will silence me forever. If, however, your feelings have changed, I will have to tell you: you have bewitched me, body and soul, and I love, I love, I love you. I never wish to be parted from you from this day on.”

 

“They could have gotten there an hour earlier if Darcy hadn’t flubbed his proposal.” Foggy points out coolly to hide that he’s melting inside, and Matt makes a little sound of agreement.

 

“He completely screwed up.” Matt says with surprising venom. Foggy turns, blinking at him. Matt’s glaring towards the TV. “Idiot. What an idiot.”

 

“Okay…” Foggy says hesitantly. Matt looks like he might actually throw his spoon at the screen, and with Matt’s strength that might break the TV, so Foggy stands. “Well, idiot or not, I guess it ended okay. They got there in the end, right?”

 

“But what if they hadn’t?” Matt asks, oddly intense. “What if Elizabeth didn’t forgive Darcy for what he said? What if she said no when he asked again? What if she moved on with someone else?”

 

He’s squeezing the ice cream carton so hard that his knuckles are going white. Foggy pulls it gently from Matt’s hands before he can crush it.

 

“Like who, Mr. Collins?" Foggy asks, a little amused. Matt keeps glaring in the direction of the TV. Foggy sighs. "Come on, Matt. That wouldn’t happen. Elizabeth was completely nuts about him.” He reminds Matt, and Matt scoffs sharply. Foggy goes to kitchen and puts the carton back in the freezer before walking back over to Matt.

 

Without the ice cream, Matt has turned his attention to his spoon. It’s actually bending under the force. It looks like it might snap in Matt’s hands.

 

Foggy takes the spoon too, and then he takes Matt’s hand.

 

“Time for bed, I think.” He pulls Matt to his feet and tugs him in the direction of the bedroom. Matt makes a little noise of surprise when Foggy nudges him towards the bed, and Foggy shushes him.

 

“You said you’re weren’t feeling so good, right?” Matt nods slowly. “A nice warm bed sounds like exactly what you need tonight.” Matt nods again, much more quickly this time. “I can crash on the couch just this once.” Matt closes his eyes for a moment.

 

“Couch.” He repeats dully. “Right.”

 

“Don’t worry, it’s actually pretty comfortable.” Foggy assures him, even though the couch is creaky and old. He lingers long enough to make sure Matt gets tucked into bed. Matt smiles wanly at him and pulls the blankets up to his chin, and he looks so ridiculously sweet that Foggy has to take a moment to compose himself.

 

Foggy leaves before he does something he regrets, but he does let himself pause at the doorway.

 

“Hey, Matt?” Matt hums sleepily. “You shouldn’t let it bug you so much. It’s just a movie.”

 

Matt makes a strange little sound, sort of between a laugh and what sounds almost like a sob.

 

“Yeah.” Matt agrees softly. “Just a movie.”

 


 

 John shows up at work a few days later.

 

Foggy had told him where the office was and mentioned that John could come by if he wanted, but he’d only done that to be polite. John was never supposed to take him up on it.

 

“Oh.” Foggy says, staring at him dumbly. “You’re… here.” He doesn’t know quite how to express his panic without looking like a dick.

 

Karen’s gone, thank god. She’d be having a fit right now, peppering Foggy with all kinds of questions and comments. Luckily she’d finished all her work early and had called it an early night.

 

Matt is not gone.

 

Foggy glances desperately towards Matt’s office door, which is shut—Foggy knows that doesn’t mean anything, except that Matt can hear everything that they’re saying and Foggy can’t see what Matt’s face looks like when he hears. It’s an unfair advantage.

 

“I thought I might pick you up.” John tells him cheerfully. “It’s Friday, and if you don’t have any plans…” He pauses meaningfully.

 

He’s got flowers in his hands. Flowers.

 

“Uh.” Foggy says, because he does have plans, actually. He’s going shopping with Matt, because Matt hates getting groceries—it’s noisy and there are too many smells, he tells Foggy. Foggy likes being there to make sure he’s okay, and also to buy Matt the cookies Matt likes but never gets for himself because ‘they’re horrible for you, Foggy, have you seen how much sugar’s in those things?’ Foggy always buys them anyway, and Matt always eats them.

 

“We could go swimming.” John tempts. “I just got my pool remodeled.”

 

John has a pool. How rich is he? He always takes Foggy to incredibly expensive restaurants, but owning a pool is a whole new ballgame.

 

“I would, normally.” Foggy prevaricates. “But I’m already sort of already doing something with Matt.“ He thinks it might sound weird if he says they’re going grocery shopping together, so he leaves that part out. John raises an eyebrow.

 

“Oh, really?” He asks, and he seems incredibly amused. “What sort of thing?” He sounds far too suggestive. Foggy glares at him, making a slashing motion across his throat. “I really need to meet this guy if he’s going to be stealing away all your time.”

 

Foggy is about to say that is a horrible idea, and let’s leave right now before Matt notices. He opens his mouth--

 

“Hello.” Matt says, and Foggy turns in horror to see him leaning against the doorframe of his office watching Foggy, expression ever so even. After a moment Matt turns towards John instead. “You must be Foggy’s new friend. John, right?” He pushes himself away from the wall and makes his way over.

 

Oddly enough, Matt’s not acting nearly as blind as he normally does. Around strangers especially, Matt tends to ham it up a little, to throw people off their guard and to keep them from looking too closely. But now Matt’s not even bothering to use his cane, walking forward with sure steps until he’s standing at Foggy’s side, their shoulders brushing.

 

John nods.

 

“And you must be Matthew.” He says, even though Foggy’s pretty sure he’s never called Matt ‘Matthew’ in his life, and especially not around John. “Foggy’s told me a lot about you.” He says it with an annoying amount of emphasis.

 

“Oh?” Matt says, smiling serenely. “I’m afraid I haven’t heard as much about you. Pity.”

 

John laughs, grinning at Foggy.

 

“You ashamed of me?” He teases, and Foggy shakes his head.

 

“No, I just…” It feels weird, like he’s got two different lives colliding with each other, and the collision’s a ten-car pileup. “I think I’ll just take these and find some water.” He deflects, reaching for the flowers. Matt gives a sharp little exhale when Foggy takes them, and Foggy looks closer at the blooms.

 

“Oh, no.” He says when he sees the blushed, delicate petals. “Lilies. Don’t worry, Matt, I’ll take them home.”

 

“Do you not like lilies?” John asks him, looking concerned. Foggy shakes his head.

 

“No, they’re fine, they’re just a little strong for Matt’s nose.” He explains. “If I left them in the office, they’d drive him nuts.”

 

John grins.

 

“Well, I definitely do not have a problem with you taking them home with you. Maybe you can put them in your bedroom.” Foggy gapes at him.

 

John’s never this flirtatious. Foggy thinks it has to be because Matt’s there, which makes him wonder what the hell John’s doing. Does he think this is being helpful, trying to make Matt jealous? Because Matt doesn’t seem jealous at all—he’s just standing there with a mild smile and showing absolutely no reaction to the heavy-handed advances.

 

“Or the kitchen.” Foggy suggests quickly. “There’s more sunlight there. Sun is good. For flowers.” 

 

“Even with sunlight, lilies don’t last very long.” Matt tells him, reaching out to run a finger along one of the petals. “Not very long at all.”

 

“Well.” Foggy says, unsure how to take that pessimistic statement. Matt smiles at him brightly, pulling his hand away.

 

“Longer than you’d think.” John argues, and he’s still smiling but there’s a little bit of an edge to it now. “Why don’t we let Foggy take them home, and he can see how long they last for himself?”

 

Matt twitches.

 

“Foggy doesn’t like lilies.” He claims, and Foggy blinks at him.

 

“I just said they’re fine, Matt.” He argues. “Besides, it’ll be nice having something to brighten the place up. It’s good to have something to come home to, and I doubt I could keep a goldfish alive for a week." He smiles at John. “Lilies are fine.” He repeats, and John smiles kindly.

 

“Hey, don’t worry. I’ll get you something else next time.” He winks. “Maybe some nice red roses.”

 

“Foggy doesn’t like roses either.” Matt mutters, pulling on his coat. Foggy glares at him, because he likes roses just fine, Murdock, before he smiles apologetically at John. John’s watching Matt, eyes narrowed.

 

“I guess I’ll just keep trying until I find something he does like.” He tells Matt, and Matt gives him a strange little smile.

 

“Good luck with that."

 


 

“I give him a week, tops.” John tells him that evening over dinner. “Honestly? Probably more like a day.”

 

“Oh, come on.” Foggy protests. “You were there—he was totally uninterested. He didn’t even notice you were flirting with me.”

 

John’s giving him a very odd look.

 

“…Right. Well, either way I think I know when I’ve been beat--no way am I getting anywhere, after seeing you two together. Too bad.” He smiles a little ruefully. “Oh, and at some point after you’ve got him in bed and in a good mood, please tell Murdock to call off the hit squads.”

 

“He’s not interested,” Foggy says again, frowning. “And there are no hit squads.”

 

 John laughs, holding up his hands.

 

“Sure. Just… put in a good word, okay?” His smile is a little worried despite his jocular tone. “I’m sort of afraid he’s going to break my kneecaps.”

 

“Matt wouldn’t do that.” Foggy protests, and then thinks about it. “Well, probably.”

 

Probably. Maybe.

 


 

Matt shows up the next day at Foggy’s apartment, and when Foggy opens the door Matt immediately shoves a potted plant into his arms.

 

Foggy blinks down at it.

 

“What—Is this a cactus?” He asks, bewildered. He’s lucky Matt didn’t stab him with it, the way he practically threw it at him. “Why do you have a cactus? Did you carry this down the street with you?”

 

“Yeah.” Matt says, like a blind guy carrying a potted cactus down the busy streets of Hell’s Kitchen is totally normal behavior. “It’s for you.” Matt adds when Foggy continues staring at the plant dumbly.

 

“Uh, okay. Thanks.” Foggy replies, stepping back to let Matt inside. “Why did you buy me a cactus?” Matt smiles at him, tugging off his coat and tossing it on a chair.

 

“You said you wanted something to come home to.” He points out. “Cactuses are easy to take care of, and they last a long time. Longer than lilies.”

 

“Yeah, but lilies are a lot less likely to get you stabbed.” Foggy answers, eying the sharp spines of the cactus in trepidation. Matt frowns at him, hesitating.

 

“Do you not like it?” He asks, biting his lip. “I can take it back…” Foggy shakes his head, pulling the cactus close to his chest without letting himself actually touch it. Spikes like butcher knives, Jesus.

 

“No way, man. My cactus.” He grins down at it a little dopily. Sure, it’s the weirdest present he’s ever gotten, but Matt bought it for it so it’s automatically also the best present he’s ever gotten. And it’s not really dangerous, he thinks--just a little prickly. “It’s pretty cute, actually. It’s got these big red spines—the color sort of reminds me of your costume, actually. And it’s sort of stubby but in that way that makes it look tough.”

 

“Oh.” Matt exhales, sounding relieved. “It gets pretty flowers too, if you wait long enough.”

 

“Awesome.” Foggy coos at the cactus. “Look at you, hardy and handsome.”

 

“Are you seriously talking to the cactus?” Matt asks, sounding amused. Foggy sniffs haughtily.

 

“Plants like to be talked to, Matt. They need to be nurtured.” He hugs the pot. “I am going to nurture the hell out of this thing.”

 

“That’s good.” Matt says, and he still sounds amused but also a little fond now. “Where are you going to put it?” Foggy squints down at the cactus.

 

“I’ve already got the lilies in the kitchen…” He muses. “Maybe the bedroom?”

 

“Good idea.” Matt agrees quickly, and he’s grinning. “Want to know what kind of cactus it is?” He asks, and Foggy nods, making a curious noise. Matt’s grin widens into a smirk.

 

“Devil’s Tongue.”

 

“You’re a dork.” Foggy tells him, a little louder than he needs to in order to hide the spike in his heartbeat.

 

Devil’s Tongue in the bedroom. Jesus.

 


 

Foggy loves his cactus. It’s prickly and punky as hell, but it’s also a tough little thing with a lot of character. He waters it when he remembers, and he says good morning to it when he wakes up because he’s a sap and the cactus is good company.

 

It doesn’t grow any flowers.

 

“Maybe it’s sick? Or sad?” He asks Matt worriedly when Matt’s over for dinner. “What if my cactus is depressed, Matt?”

 

“I think it might just be a late bloomer.” Matt tells him with an amused little smile, and Foggy snorts.

 

“That was a horrible joke.” He informs Matt, before going back to worrying about his cactus. “Hey, don’t worry about it, buddy.” He tells the thing encouragingly, patting the pot. “I’ll still love you even if you stay plain and prickly forever.” 

 

Matt rolls his eyes, but he’s smiling.

 

“You’re very supportive of your cactus's shortcomings.” He praises, and then he clears his throat and says a little awkwardly, “Speaking of flowers, how’s Lily Guy?”

 

Foggy huffs out a laugh.

 

“You know his name is John, Matt.” He chides, and then sighs, shrugging. “Okay, I guess. We sort of broke up. Even though we weren’t even dating in the first place.” He cannot help but mention. Matt watches him silently for a second, face unreadable.

 

“He likes you.” Matt says quietly. “A lot.”

 

“Do I want to know how you know that?” Foggy asks warily. “What, from his breathing? Pheromones? The pitter-pat of his love-struck heartbeat?”

 

“No.” Matt tells him softly. “I asked, and he told me.” Foggy stares at him, mouth agape.

 

“You asked him? You only met him one time, and I was there! There was no asking!” Matt shrugs, looking uncomfortable.

 

“He came by the office when you were out on Monday, brought you some more flowers.” Foggy frowns at him.

 

“I never got any more flowers.” He points out, and Matt ducks his head.

 

“Uh, no, you didn’t. They were hyacinths, and they made me sneeze even more than the lilies did, so…” He shrugs again a little helplessly. “I gave them to the lady down the hall from us.”

 

“And you didn’t tell me?” Foggy asks, a little upset. Matt smiles sheepishly.

 

“I sort of forgot, sorry. I was working on writing up the Sampson case, and I lost track of time.”

 

“Right…” Foggy says, unsure. That was a hell of a case, but Matt never forgets anything. “And you just casually slipped into the conversation: ‘hey, on a scale of one to ten, how much do you want to bone my friend’?”

 

“I was just trying to gauge his intentions! I was subtle!” Matt claims, stung. “He wasn’t, though. The answer to your question is eleven, by the way. That I figured out from breathing and pheromones.”

 

“Oh.” Foggy flushes. He knows on an intellectual level that John wouldn’t mind sleeping with him, but hearing Matt lay it out like that is completely different.

 

“Yeah.” Matt agrees, smile a little sharp. “And you want to sleep with him too.”

 

“Matt!” Foggy snaps, horrified and angry. “You do not do that. You do not just… you don’t get to scan me for lust. That’s not cool.”

 

“Believe me, I’m not doing it on purpose.” Matt mutters darkly. “But you don’t have to lie about it, you know. I’m…” He swallows. “I get it.”

 

Foggy laughs bitterly, running a hand through his hair.

 

“You really do not get it, Matt.” Matt flinches, and Foggy sighs. “Look, John is a good guy, and yeah, he is very hot. But even though I’m attracted to him, that doesn’t mean I’m going to act on that attraction.” Matt eyes him carefully, frowning.

 

“So you’re not interested in him? That way?” Foggy sort of wants to hit Matt with his cactus.

 

“No, Matt. I’m not interested in him that way. He’s a friend, we went on things that resemble dates, we’ve decided to stop going on things that resemble dates, and that’s it. I never even kissed him.” He glares. “Are you done dissecting my lacking love life, or do I need to start cataloging all the times he hugged me, too, so you can pick those apart?”

 

Matt shakes his head, swallows hard.

 

“No.” He whispers. “I just…” He takes a deep breath. “You…you feel lust around me, too.” He says timidly, no louder than a murmur. Foggy laughs, only a little hysterically. There’s no point denying it.

 

“Yes, Matt, I do. I have for years, and you know that. You have also made it pretty damn clear that you don’t feel the same, so could we please drop it?” Matt swallows again.

 

“What if I did feel the same?” He whispers.

 

“No.” Foggy says, dull. “No, you don’t get to say that.” Matt says nothing. “Don’t do this to me, Matt. I don’t think I could take it if you offered me a pity fuck.”

 

Matt shakes his head sharply, looking stricken.

 

“It wouldn’t be a—god, how can you even say that? I would never do that to you.” Foggy snorts bitterly.

 

“So, what? You’re saying that you’re actually madly in love with me, and you just failed to mention it at the rather opportune moment when I confessed my love to you?

 

Matt looks incredibly guilty. Foggy gapes at him.

 

“No.” Foggy says sharply, getting to his feet and holding his arms up like he’s warding off a blow. “Nope, not buying it. What possible reason could you have for lying about that?” Matt winces, standing as well.

 

“I didn’t think I was lying at the time.” He explains desperately. “I’d never thought about it—never let myself think about it. And then after you said it, I couldn’t stop thinking about it.” He smiles mirthlessly. “And then you started talking about John…”

 

Foggy stares at him in horror.

 

“Oh, no.” He mutters. “This is jealousy, isn’t it? You’ve convinced yourself that you’re in love with me because you don’t like me spending time with other people.” He clenches his fists. “Damn it, Matt. I can’t believe—“

 

“You’re right. I was jealous.” Matt admits simply. “I still am jealous, actually, that he got to take you to dinner and bring you flowers and not completely screw himself over by missing the fact that he’s been in love with you for years.” Matt pauses meaningfully. “I was jealous after you started talking about him. I realized I was in love with you about three months before that.” Foggy gapes at him.

 

“And you just didn’t say anything about it? It’s not like you had to worry about me not feeling the same.”

 

“But what if you didn’t?” Matt presses. “What if you’d changed your mind? You never said it again, after that night. You acted like nothing was different, and I thought…” He bites his lip. The phrasing of his words reminds Foggy of something, although it takes him a second to place it.

 

“Oh my god, you’re Mr. Darcy!” Matt blinks at him, taken aback. “That’s why you were so weird when we were watching. You were Mr. Darcy! And you thought, what, that I was going to say no if you asked me again?” Matt nods miserably. “Matt, did you not hear what I told you? I told you that Elizabeth—which, thanks for making me the girl, by the way—was completely crazy about Darcy. For pretty much the whole movie.” Matt smiles weakly at him.

 

“You also told me that it was just a movie. Happy endings don’t happen in real life, Foggy.” He sounds completely beaten-down, shoulders slumped and eyes sad.

 

“Not endings, maybe. But happy does.” Foggy tells him quietly.

 

Matt swallows, taking a step closer. He makes a little aborted movement with his hands, like he wants to reach out but he can’t let himself.

 

“You have bewitched me, body and soul?” Matt tries tentatively, and Foggy laughs.

 

“Did you memorize the whole speech, Matt?” He asks fondly, and Matt grins ruefully at him.

 

“Pretty much.” He admits sheepishly. “I think the next part goes: I love you.” He reaches out again, and this time Foggy lets himself be caught. "I love you.” He murmurs, leaning down to kiss him. It is utterly sweet for a moment, soft as silk. It’s lovely, really it is, but Foggy has years of sexual tension pent up and he needs something a little bit…more.

 

He tangles a hand in Matt’s hair and uses it to tilt his head to a better angle, pressing closer. Matt makes a surprised, delighted sound and lets Foggy tug at his hair until he’s happy with it. Then he nips at Foggy’s lower lip and whoa, yep, looks like Matt’s got some stuff pent up too. He kisses hard and hot, licking into Foggy’s mouth and snagging one arm around Foggy’s waist to pull him closer.

 

“God, I love you.” Matt whispers hoarsely when they pause to breathe.

 

“I never wish to be parted from you from this day on.” Foggy whispers back, and Matt makes a startled little sound. Foggy smiles up at him. “It’s one of my favorite movies. Mr. Darcy’s kind of hot.” Matt blinks.

 

“Huh. Jealous again.” Matt mutters thoughtfully, and leans back in. “Let’s fix that.”

 


 

“Wow.” Foggy stares up at the ceiling. He’s going to be sore in places he never even knew existed, probably for weeks, and he’s not quite sure he can feel his legs anymore. “I’m pretty sure most of that was not legal. I mean, I don’t remember studying the subject specifically in law school, but, you know, educated guess.”

 

Matt hums happily. He looks completely blissed out, rubbing Foggy’s chest as he gets his breath back, but now that Foggy’s actually capable of speech again his hand is slipping down towards Foggy’s stomach, lower, lower.

 

“No, Matt.” Foggy moans weakly, even as his hips thrust forward helplessly. “I really don’t think I can take any more.” Matt smiles at him, rolling over to press a lingering kiss against his temple.

 

“One more time. Just one more.” He promises, licking along the shell of Foggy's ear, and he says that now but he also said it the last three times. "You can do one more time for me, can't you?" Foggy sobs when Matt presses his arching body back down on the bed, whispering words of encouragement into his ear and running a soothing hand briefly down his thigh.

 

“You know, when you were bragging about your powers, you failed to mention supernatural stamina.” Foggy complains breathlessly, trying not to whimper when Matt nips at his earlobe and curls his fingers. “Some prior warning would have been nice.”

 

“Oops.” Matt murmurs, twisting his hand expertly and Foggy really can’t help a whimper this time. “I forgot.”

 

“Sure you did, you little—ah!” He gasps when Matt does that little trick with his thumb. “I hate you.” He tells Matt, glaring, and Matt grins and leans in to kiss him.

 

“No you don’t.” He whispers warmly, smile curving against Foggy’s mouth.

 

“No.” Foggy agrees happily, fingers already sliding down past Matt’s hips. Matt gives a hitching little moan, and Foggy grins. “I really don’t."