Matt's heart skips a beat when he meets Foggy Nelson.
He feels it, an aching stillness in his chest and then a quick, painful clench, and suddenly instead of hearing two pulses in the room he hears only one, both their hearts beating to the same rhythm. It trips and quickens and Matt knows that's his fault, not Foggy's. He leans his forehead on the end of his cane and tries to breathe through it.
"You're my new-- Oh," Foggy's saying, and Matt knows what that tone of voice means, knows the way Foggy's steps falter halfway to him. There's silence, just the rapid rise and fall of Foggy's breath and the dual pounding of their hearts. "Do you--" He hesitates. "Did you feel that?"
Matt shuts his eyes and is grateful that the sunglasses will hide at least that much from Foggy. He hear's Stick's voice echoing across the years, telling him that he had to learn to control his feelings or they'd control him, telling him that emotions were a weakness and he couldn't afford to be anything but strong. And then driving that point home by leaving, showing first hand the sort of devastation that emotional attachments could leave in their way.
He lifts his head up, forces a smile, makes it quizzical and a little confused. "Feel what?"
His pulse -- their pulse -- pounds in his ears. Foggy just breathes for a moment, and then he gives a half breath, like a sigh or a laugh. "Must be indigestion. A word to the wise, avoid the dining hall's tacos. Contrary to popular belief, there is such a thing as a bad taco, and it lives right here in Manhattan."
"Duly noted," Matt says, and makes himself smile through that, too. "I think I've got antacids in one of my boxes?"
Foggy laughs a little. His footsteps move across the room and the springs on his bed squeak. "Nah, man, it's cool. I'm sure it'll pass. Oh, shit! I'm in!"
Matt lowers himself onto the edge of his bed, lets himself respond, lets the conversation move on from there. Yes, he thinks, as Foggy starts going on about how there are a hundred and thirty million people in the world he wants to be able to make a meaningful connection with. I'm sure it will pass.
They always have before, one way or another.
"No! No, no, no, no." Foggy is drunk, clinging to Matt's side, breathing into his shoulder, wheeling off only to spin back like a moon in orbit. "Are you trying to tell me that you didn't take Spanish to snuggle up to, what's her name, the Greek girl?"
Matt is no less sober. He's drunk enough not to find a reason to keep distance between them, drunk enough to let himself lean on Foggy just as much as Foggy leans on him. Drunk enough to enjoy it, without a thought for the consequences that will follow. It's just Foggy, warm and laughing and vibrantly alive, and their pulse is slow and easy from the alcohol sliding through their veins. It makes everything easy.
"Whatever happened to her?" Foggy asks earnestly. "Did you two, y'know--" and the air moves by Matt's face.
Matt reaches up and catches Foggy's hand where he's wiggling his fingers at him. Matt's lost track of the conversation, but he doesn't need context to know what that gesture implies. Foggy's trying to ask if they bonded, and his words are light but his heart's in his throat. His heart's in Matt's throat.
"It didn't work out," he says, and he doesn't need to remember which girl they're talking about now, because the answer's always the same. They never work out. They can't.
"When does it ever with you?" Foggy demands, scoffing, and Matt's drunk enough that he panics, for just a moment convinced that they share more than a heartbeat now, that Foggy can slip into his head and know his thoughts as easily as he does his own, that he's known the truth this entire time.
"How can I help you?" Foggy asks, and that's earnest, too. Maybe too earnest, because he's quiet for a beat and then he says, "What are you looking for, my young padawan?" in a Yoda voice.
Foggy can't help but be genuine, every minute of his life. He jokes to cover up the moments when he's being honest but doesn't want anyone to know it. He hooks his arm through Matt's and asks him what are you looking for and makes it sound like a joke, but Matt knows he means it. He wants to know what Matt wants. He felt the bond form, that first day in their dorm room, of course he did. It doesn't take enhanced senses to know what it means when you look at someone and your heart trips in your chest. He wants to know how it's possible for Matt to be his soulmate, if he isn't Matt's. He wants to know what Matt's looking for, and he never adds, if it's not me, but it doesn't matter because Matt hears it anyway.
"I don't know," Matt tells him, too quiet, too genuine. He's too tired to lie about this, not tonight. Not when the night's so cold and his blood's so hot and Foggy is so warm at his side. "I guess just someone I really like listening to."
"I trust you," Foggy says, and his voice is quiet beneath the music playing over the speakers at Josie's but it seems deafening. "If you think this is what we should be doing, then I'm with you. For better or worse."
Matt's heart trips in his chest and he can't know for certain if it's coming from him or from Foggy. They're drinking -- ostensibly they're celebrating, but Matt thinks at least half of it is for liquid courage -- but they're not drunk. Not nearly drunk enough to play off the way Foggy's voice goes soft and sincere when he says it.
He makes himself laugh, makes himself joke, "Sounds like we're getting married." And it's in poor taste, he knows it is, with everything that lies between them, but he can't think of any other way to salvage the tailspin this conversation has headed in.
Foggy breathes, and Matt may not be drunk but he's definitely had too much because he hadn't even noticed that Foggy had stopped until that moment. "Come on, this is way more important than a civil union," he says, and he almost sounds like he means it. Almost like he believes it. "We're going to be business partners!"
And maybe it's that that makes it so Matt can breathe again too, that puts enough slack in the rope that's choking him that he can say, "There's no one I'd rather be doing this with than you," and give Foggy at least a little bit of the honesty that he deserves.
Business partners, he thinks, and he clings to that. It's not emotions. It's not weakness. It's just business.
Somewhere, he imagines that Stick is sneering at him. Stick always had been able to see through his bullshit. But Matt just lifts his glass and lets Foggy clink the hell out of it, and then he downs it all in one straight shot and lets the burn of alcohol chase the specter of Stick away, at least for one night
He's used to lying to people, ever since Stick found him and taught him to do things no child should be able to do. He has practice at it. It's easy.
Lying to Foggy is never easy. It starts off hard and it just gets worse. The lies stick in his throat like tar, until he has to fake a cough or a laugh to get them out. His pulse trips when he lies to Foggy, and maybe it's because everyone's does when they're dishonest, or maybe it's because Foggy's voice loses a little bit of its color every time he does, goes a little flat, a little sad. "I walked into a tree," he says when he shows up with a fresh bruise stinging across his cheek. "I swear it wasn't there yesterday, the darn thing must've sprouted up overnight." And Foggy laughs like he's meant to, but it's a little subdued, and Matt's heart thumps a steady, painful beat in his chest.
"Some asshole on a bike," Matt says, because he's got a gash on his arm and a limp when he walks, and his heart speeds. "Knocked me off my feet and then told me to watch where I was going." Foggy makes noises about tracking him down and suing him, throwing the book at him, but he doesn't sound as lively as he usually does when he talks about the law.
"Got clipped by a car who ran the light," he says over the phone from his bed in the ER while the doctors wait for the x-rays to come back to find out if he's broken his leg or not, and his pulse sounds like a drumbeat in his ears, nearly drowning out the sincerity of Foggy's, "Jesus Christ, Matt" and his, "I'll be there in ten. No, shut up, I'll be there in ten."
And then he's there, while the nurses are fitting him with a walking cast and commenting over how lucky he is. Foggy's voice is tight and his breathing is harsh with genuine fear, but Matt's pretty sure that the pounding heart is still his own fault. He's pretty sure that the depth of his guilt is stronger even than the force of Foggy's panic.
"I'm fine," he says. "I'm fine. I'm glad you're here." And the rest of it is a lie, but at least that much is the truth.
Sometimes, Matt's heart will race for no reason. He'll be asleep and wake up with a start, his heart pounding against his ribs, or he'll be typing up a brief and suddenly his heart will be in his throat, fluttering a mile a minute, and he knows it's Foggy.
Sometimes it's obvious what happens. Sometimes he'll walk into the office five minutes later, snarling, "That son of a bitch DA thinks he can make us beg for a deal," and Matt can breathe again.
Sometimes it's not so easy. Sometimes Matt has to probe. Foggy's an open book, so usually a, "How was your night?" will do it, will launch him off into some story about how traffic was a bitch getting home and he nearly got broadsided and it scared him half to death or he'll say, "I ran into Marci Friday night, you remember her, from our halcyon days at Landman and Zack. Anyway, we had a couple of drinks, did some catching up, and then wowee," and that's all Matt can stand to hear because he knows the rest of that story will do nothing good for his sanity.
It's the middle of a Saturday night when Matt wakes gasping for air, grabbing at his chest because his heart feels like a battering ram that's going to burst straight through his rib cage. This isn't like anything he's felt before. It's not a brief scare, it's not the swelling rumble of rage. This is something different.
This is something very, very bad.
He calls Foggy first, even though he knows, he knows it's pointless. But he has to try. He has to hope.
The line rings and rings and then goes to voicemail. Matt calls him back twice, and a third time, and then he's sure. Foggy always takes his calls.
He scrambles out of bed and across the apartment to the closet with the chest where his dad's things are stored, where his own are hidden underneath. His hands are shaking, panic clawing through him, and he tells himself it's just a psychosomatic reaction, his brain responding to the signals coming from his pounding heart. He wants it to be true, but he knows it isn't.
This isn't right. He's put these clothes on before, dozens of times, more. But this is the first time his hands have shaken as he's done so. It's the first time he's had to stop and breathe and untie the knotted mess he's made of the laces on his boots.
He's used to being angry. It's a cold feeling, a block of ice he carries around in his chest, seeping out from the middle until it's numbed every part of him.
This isn't that. This is fear, and it's white-hot. Every breath sears his lungs, every desperate beat of his heart feels like the pulse of the fire's flames. It's a conflagration and it eats away at the edges of his thoughts until the only thing left is Foggy.
Stick taught him better than this. Stick taught him how to be calm and centered and in-control. But Stick never finished the job. He told Matt not to feel and then left before he taught him how. All Matt can do right now is feel, like those early days at the orphanage before Stick found him, when even the gentlest sigh was too much, but this is worse because it's in his head and buried deep into his heart until every nerve and neuron is alight with the terror and the worry.
He's compromised. Stick warned him this would happen and he's done everything in his power to avoid it, but he's compromised all the same. And there's nothing he can do but fight through it because Foggy's in trouble.
He pulls the mask on last, settles it down low over his face and then he's running up the fire escape to the roof and listens, straining to hear anything over the pounding thunder of Foggy's heartbeat in his chest.
He crosses Hell's Kitchen from one rooftop to the next until he finds the first faint hints of a trail, a whispered, "Daredevil," carried to him on the wind, and he drops silently into the alley below him and stalks toward the man whose voice spoke his name.
It's a maddeningly long, complicated trail from that first lackey in the alley, who'd sobbed and given up the name of the man he'd been talking about Daredevil to on the phone as soon as Matt broke his arm, to the shipping container down by the docks, and each step is more difficult to the last. And Foggy's pulse levels off from that first, terrible burst of panic, but it stays fast and fluttery, stays frightened. The rhythm of it drives Matt on, and leads him closer.
The sun's risen and set and nearly risen again when Matt walks down the long rows of stacked storage containers. He moves through the shadows, light on his feet, keeping his breathing slow and shallow so he can hear the noises around him, and finally, finally the distant, muted sounds of an accented voice snarling, "He should have been in contact hours ago, if we've been compromised we should just kill him and cut our losses--" and that's paired with an answering kick to Matt's pulse, and he knows.
He abandons the shadows, and he runs.
The docks are a labyrinth, sounds echoing off of steel until they seem to be coming from every direction, but Matt's too frantic to stop and sort through them because there's a quick breath and Foggy's voice saying, "Hey, come on guys, that isn't necessary, as far anyone needs to know I never saw your faces, right?" There's the sound of metal on cloth, a gun being drawn, the mechanical click of a safety being disengaged. The slow, menacing beat of footsteps echoing off of a storage comparment's floor, and there's no time, there's no time, Matt runs and he prays because he can't lose Foggy when he hasn't even had the chance to really have him.
God bless Foggy because he keeps talking, words spilling out of him. He can't know that Matt's coming for him, but maybe he's hoping to actually talk them out of it, or maybe he's trying to buy time for a miracle. Matt follows the sound of his voice, running as fast as he can and then running faster, because it's Foggy, because he has to be there, and finally he turns a corner and starts down a new row of containers and Foggy's voice is clear and close, without the tinniness of an echo.
He's cracking a joke about how aren't condemned men supposed to be offered one last request, or one last drink, or at least the chance to say any last words. And at that the one with the accent stops and snorts, says, "Fine, then, let's hear it. What are your last words?" just as Matt reaches them.
Foggy's quiet for one breath, for two, for three as Matt steps up through the open door, his footsteps silent once again. And then Foggy says, "Well, better late than never, I suppose."
There are three heartbeats in the storage container. The one that Matt and Foggy shares and two others, quickening just a little in confusion.
"What--" the accent says, and he doesn't manage anything else because Matt kicks the gun from his hand and slams him against the side of the compartment so hard the steel rings like a bell.
It's easy, from there. Matt's burning with fury and it's so easy to punch, to kick, to hurt. He never wants to stop, but Foggy's voice rises over everything else and he's saying, "Stop. Stop. Christ, they're unconscious, just stop."
It's an effort to pull himself back, to reign in the fire and the fury. But Foggy's voice is shaking and he smells like sweat and blood and filth. Matt's hands shake, too, as he steps back from the bodies of the two men. Their hearts are beating, slow and steady. Unconscious, like Foggy said, and Matt doesn't care. He'd finish them if Foggy weren't there, if his breathing weren't unraveling a little further with every shuddering breath.
Matt goes to him, reaches a hand out until his fingers touch cloth. His shoulder. Matt slides that touch down to Foggy's hands, bound together behind the back of the chair with zip ties, and then up, to touch his neck, his jaw. He smells like he's injured and Matt has to know--
"I'm fine, Matt," Foggy says, weary, and Matt goes very, very still. When his heart kicks against his sternum, he's sure the beat is coming from him, not Foggy. "I'm fine. Just cut me loose?"
"You--" Matt's throat works, suddenly dry. Everything he's ever known, every lesson Stick has ever taught him, tells him to lie, to feign confusion, to pretend ignorance. But Foggy's here, and he's alive, and it was such a close thing, and Matt is abruptly so, so tired of lying. He shuts his eyes and lists forward a little, and the hand he puts out to brace himself lands on Foggy's knee. "How'd you know?"
Foggy huffs out a breath and Matt doesn't think it's laughter. "Freedom first, talking later. The guy on your right has a knife on him."
Matt goes, crouches at the thug's side and pats him down until he finds the knife tucked into his waistband. He draws it from its sheath and returns to Foggy's side, crouching down behind him and feeling where the zip tie is pressed tight into his wrists until he finds a gap between them where he can safely slide the point of the knife through without risking injuring Foggy more than he has already been.
It's a good knife, sharp, and it cuts through the plastic of the zip tie easily. As soon as it falls away Foggy brings his arms around in front of him. His breath hitches a little with the sound of skin on skin -- rubbing his wrists, no doubt. Matt grimaces at the thought of how long he's been gone, and how sore they must be.
"Your legs?" Matt asks quietly.
"One around each ankle, tying them to the chair's legs."
Matt nods once and kneels at his feet. He finds those zip ties and slices through them quickly, too. As he cuts through the last, a weight lands on his shoulder, light, warm. Foggy's hand. Matt lets out an unsteady sigh and feels all the tension in him go soft at the touch. He bows his head and stays there a moment, even as the last zip tie falls to the floor.
"How, Foggy?" he asks quietly.
Foggy makes a sound like aggravation in the back of his throat. "Those assholes are going to wake up soon, and I'd really rather not be here when they did." He stands, leaning just a bit more of his weight onto Matt's shoulder to do so. His first few steps are staggering, and his breath catches then hisses through his teeth, and Matt could kill them both for hurting him even this much.
"You need to go to the hospital," Matt says, and Foggy barks a laugh.
"I really really don't. Everything's superficial. Nothing some neosporin and a few bandaids won't fix. Maybe some advil if I'm feeling really wild." The sound of his footsteps changes, from the reverberation of metal to the crunch of gravel beneath his feet as he steps out of the storage container. "Come on, come out of there. I'm gonna lock this thing up and call Brett, but you can't be here when he gets here. Not as, y'know, you."
He says you and means Daredevil, not Matt Murdock, and that hurts more than a little. Matt rubs a hand over his face and comes out of the container, leans against its side as Foggy swings the door shut and slides the lock into place. "I'm not leaving you," he says, rough.
"Yeah, yeah, you're a big damn hero, I know. But I don't need the man in the mask right now, okay? I need my--" His voice catches, breaks, and it's the first sign he's shown that he's hurt and he's tired. Matt wants to pull him close and never let him go. "I need my friend. So unless you've got a suit stashed away out here somewhere..."
"I don't," Matt says, because Foggy seems to be waiting for a response.
"Yeah." Foggy sighs. "I didn't think so. Go home, Matt. Brett's gonna need a statement and that's going to take forever, so just... Thank you, really, I am so very glad to be alive right now, thank you, but go home."
Matt swallows down the lump in his throat. It hurts, and he can scarcely breathe past it. "Tell me you're all right." His voice is ragged, hoarse. "Just, one more time, just say it."
Foggy lets out a long breath. He speaks slowly, each word clear and precise. "I'm fine. I don't need to go to the hospital. I'm fine."
Matt's heart beats a steady rhythm in his chest. It doesn't trip at all. Foggy's telling the truth.
"Call Brett," Matt says. "I'll wait with you until they get here. And when you're done, you'll come by my place, right?" It hurts just to breathe. Foggy's right there beside him and he's safe but Matt is still so, so afraid. "So we can talk?"
"Yeah." Foggy sounds run-down, sounds exhausted. "Yeah, I'll come by when I'm done at the station."
Matt nods and doesn't say anything else. That's enough. It has to be.
Matt hasn't slept in over twenty-four hours and he's weary down to his bones, but sleep's not an option so long as Foggy is still out there, not home, not safe. Matt trusts Brett, for all the animosity that sometimes lies between them, and he trusts everyone else at the precinct, too. But alone in the quiet of his apartment with nothing but the steady beat of his heart for reassurance, it's not enough. Believing he's safe is one thing, but knowing is quite another. Matt doesn't really let himself breathe until hours later, when the rising sun is coming in warm through his window and the sound of a key rasps in the lock of his door.
"So Brett's got 'em booked on kidnapping, assault, and battery charges," Foggy says as he comes inside, before Matt can do more than jolt to his feet. "And there's lots of opportunity for civil torts as well. Not the revenue stream I anticipated for our little firm, I must admit, but after the day I've had I can't exactly say I'm feeling generous."
Foggy stopped Matt before he could do more than knock them unconscious. As far as Matt's concerned, he's already been more generous than they deserve.
"Battery," Matt says, and his voice is hollow. Assault means they tried to hurt him, but battery means they succeeded.
"I told you, I'm fine." Foggy's voice is suddenly tight and unhappy. He paces across the room, back, across again.
Matt lowers himself onto his couch, wraps his fingers around the edge of the cushion. "Foggy," he says. "Foggy, please talk to me. Please."
"Now you want to talk," Foggy says, and he laughs but there's no humor in it at all. It sounds pained and horrible and Matt's heart clenches tight in his chest. "Sure, yeah, okay." He comes over, drops down onto the chair opposite the couch, drops down hard. "Let's talk. You want to know how I knew it was you? Same way you knew I needed help."
They don't talk about this. They never talk about this, but Matt's heart is racing and it could be his fault as easily as Foggy's. Matt's anxious, adrenaline pumping through his system, but Foggy is angry, and it's that that makes Matt stay. It's that that makes him speak, and speak the truth.
"Our heartbeat," he says.
Foggy lets out a burst of air like Matt's knocked all the air from him, like Matt's struck him a blow, and Matt supposes he has. "You lied to me."
"Yes." Matt drops his head forward. Everything suddenly feels too heavy to bear, the entire weight of the world crushing down on him. "When-- When did you know?"
"I felt it in your heart the first day. The very first day, Matt, for fuck's sake." His voice goes sharp and then breaks off. He's breathing fast and shallow. He's angry, and Matt can't blame him. "I knew something was wrong. It wasn't me, I was... I was happy until--"
He doesn't have to finish. Matt knows.
Foggy takes a breath like he's bracing himself. "I knew something was wrong. I didn't know what it meant until later. Until you'd lied to me enough that I figured it out. That that's what it meant."
"I'm sorry." The words scrap through Matt's throat, painful. His throat feels raw, torn to shreds.
"Are you, Matt? Because you've been lying to me as long as I've known you, so I've got to wonder exactly how much any of this matters to you."
"No." Matt surges to his feet, takes two steps toward Foggy and then stops, unsure what to do with himself. "It--it matters, it does. It matters, Foggy."
"Then you're gonna have to help me understand why. You let me think there was something wrong with me for five years, and I don't know why."
Matt wants to say, You said you knew, you said you figured it out, you didn't spend five years thinking you didn't have a soulmate because you knew. But that's just the guilt talking, and the Murdock blood, the urge to rise up and fight in response to pain.
But a moment later clarity comes to him like a thunderstrike, leaves him reeling with it, because suddenly he understands that he didn't understand what Foggy meant at all. "You thought I didn't want you," he says, and it comes out on a gasp.
Foggy is silent for too long, just the rush of his breath and the rapid beat of his heart in Matt's chest. "It's the truth, isn't it?"
It's a fair question. It's a fair assumption. That doesn't change the way it hurts, makes him want to drop to his knees and crawl to Foggy and beg his forgiveness, because what is this pain compared to what Foggy's carried with him for the past five years? What Matt has made him carry.
Stick taught him what he had to do, all those years ago, but he never taught him the cost. He never told Matt that it would be like carving out his own heart, or that it would leave him cold and empty and aching.
"I care," Matt says, broken, aching. This conversation has beaten him down a hundred times worse than the fight at the docks did. He feels battered and weary and heartsick, and the worst is that he knows it's all of his own making. "That's the problem. What I am, what I do... There are people who would use you to get to me."
"Right, so this was all to protect me. Which explains why I wasn't just kidnapped and threatened and tied to a chair and nearly got shot."
"I don't know how they knew," Matt says, scarcely a whisper. "I tried so hard, I don't know how..."
"Tell me. Just one more time," Foggy says, echoing Matt's own words back at him. Tell me plain and clear, so I can know if it's a lie.
"I care about you."
The chair scrapes loudly across the floor. "That's not what I want and you know it." Foggy's voice comes from higher up. He's on his feet abruptly. "Say it, or say you don't."
Matt turns his face toward Foggy's. It doesn't count for much, when he can't hold his gaze, but Matt knows the gesture's important all the same. He says, "I love you."
His heart beats steady in his chest, quickened with nerves, with regret, with fear, but not with a lie.
There's the muffled sound of an impact, Foggy's warmth right in front of him, his hands gripped tight on Matt's shoulders. Matt wants to sway into him, swamped by the sudden dizzy relief. "Matthew Murdock, you're a son of a bitch." Foggy's voice is choked. Matt hopes it's happy. "And I'm going to kiss you, so you'd better speak up right now if you've got an opinion about that."
Matt doesn't say a word, just leans forward and lets their mouths crash together. Foggy's like a furnace heating up all the cold places inside Matt, and his fingers press into his shoulders. His mouth is soft, but there's a place towards the corner of his mouth that tastes like copper and Matt knows that the men who took him must have split his lip open.
Matt pulls back to gentle the kiss, but Foggy mutters, "No you don't," against his mouth and follows after, one hand curved around the back of his neck to arrest his flight.
Jail time and a civil tort is too good for those thugs. Matt would go hunt them down and make them pay if the warm pressure of Foggy's mouth on his wasn't providing such a compelling argument to stay.
His heart is pounding, a heavy beat that trips a little quicker when Foggy hums a contented sound against his lips. Matt presses his palm to Foggy's chest so he can feel it beating there with the same rhythm, twin beats that pulse through them both.
"There's a lot more we need to talk out," Foggy says eventually. Matt leans his forehead on Foggy's shoulder like he used to do, in their college days when he was too drunk to keep his hands to himself. Foggy let him then, and he lets him now. "But I've had a hell of a day, so I think I'm going to crash on your couch, and when I have slept for a year, then you can take me out to breakfast and get a start on making up for the past five years."
"Deal," Matt says. "But you're not sleeping on my couch. Take the bed, I can sleep out here."
"I am not kicking you out of your own bed," Foggy says. His hand tightens on Matt's shoulder and his weight shifts as he gets to his feet, then hooks a hand under Matt's arm to help him up to his as well.
They bicker. It's normal, and it's good, and after everything it feels so, so right.
Foggy loses the argument, but Matt isn't even paying attention. All he can hear is the sound of their hearts beating in time, light and even and happy. He has a lot to make up for, but he's going to do what he can to make sure Foggy stays happy, for the next five years and well beyond.
"For better or worse," he says softly, thinking about that night at Josie's, and Foggy stops in the middle of dragging sheets and blankets out of his linen closet to lay over the couch for him.
"Yeah, buddy. You're stuck with me now."
"There's no one I'd rather do this with than you," Matt tells him, and his heart beats, steady and even and true.