I’d sell my soul for someone to l—Foggy sneezes—to love.
Six hundred and sixty six days later, a crazy man offers to grant Foggy’s wish.
“So you’re telling me that because I helped an old lady cross the street, I get to meet my true love and live happily ever after?”
“Love. Yeah, okay. Same basic idea.” The crazy man nods, looking greatly relieved that Foggy’s taking this all so well. “It's not really the old lady, of course. That was just chance. It’s a matter of doing things at the right time. Everything has to align for me to make a deal.”
Foggy nods like this makes any sense. It doesn’t.
“So I won karma bingo?” He asks, and he’s half-joking but the crazy man nods again eagerly.
“Sure. Sort of.” He agrees happily. “And this is your prize. You’ve totally earned it.” He sounds earnest, but in that odd way that game show hosts do when they’re reading from cue cards and don’t mean a word of it. Interesting—does the crazy man not like his fictional job?
“Uh-huh.” Foggy mutters, still a little bemused. “So you’re not my roommate?” The crazy man shakes his head.
“No.” He starts, and then pauses, considering. “Well, I am your roommate, but only because I need a cover. As soon as I find someone for you to love, the contract’s done, I get my payment, and I’m free to go. So, want to make a deal?”
“Oh.” Foggy says, mostly to himself. He wonders if that means he’ll get the room to himself, or if another crazy man will just pop into existence to replace the first. “Well.” Foggy shrugs. “Okay.”
The crazy man blinks at him.
“Wait, really?” He looks completely stunned, and his eyes are wide behind red lenses—which if the guy’s telling the truth are a little cliché. Seriously? Seeing the world through rose-colored glasses? Typical cupid.
“Sure. I mean, worst-case scenario you’re crazy, but you seem nice so that’s not a big deal. Best-case scenario, I find my true love. Either way I get a cool new roommate.”
The crazy man blinks, eyes still wide. He appears to not quite know what to do with this statement, and just sort of stares like a deer in the headlights for a good minute. Finally he swallows and says carefully,
“Good. That’s…good. Thank you. That was much easier than I thought it would be.” The crazy man sounds like he thinks Foggy is the crazy man, which is just ridiculous, but Foggy lets it slide. He is sort of crazy—might as well be up-front about it. Potential roommates should know the worst about each other.
“No problem.” Foggy says easily. “Sounds like you’re the one who’s going to be doing all the work.” Honestly, finding Foggy a soulmate? He’s never even gotten past the third date before. He’s pretty sure his soulmate is a bowl of cookie dough. A thought occurs. “So, are you Matthew Murdock?” The crazy man shrugs.
“In a way. That’s what my current alias is. My real name is a little hard to pronounce, but the shorthand is Amatus. That’s not really a common name though, so I improvised.”
Foggy thinks for a moment, rolling the name over in his mind. He had to take a fair bit of Latin since it comes up so often in law, so it’s not hard to place the word. ‘Amatus’, coming from the Latin for ‘to be loved’. Once again, a little heavy-handed, but he might as well roll with it. It’s not the cupid’s fault he’s got a goofy name.
“Amatus.” Amatus is right—the name might draw some stares. Foggy considers. Amatus, Matthew…Ah! “Matt for short. That works out nicely, doesn’t it? Matty Matt Murdock.”
Matty Matt Murdock sounds like he’s not quite sure if this is an insult or not. Foggy watches as he tilts his head, frown curious, and repeats the name to himself. He does this a few times, each repetition a little more confident. His frown has faded into a slight smile, and Foggy thinks it’s the first real one he’s ever seen from the man.
“Matt.” He says one last time, and yes, his smile is a little giddy. “I’ve never had a nickname before.” He looks kind of like a kid on Christmas morning, and it’s a little adorable, so Foggy grins and pats him kindly on the shoulder.
“Well, now you do. Okay, Matt. I’m Foggy, although I’m sure it says that somewhere in your super secret cupid mission reports on me.”
“…Cupid.” Matt repeats slowly, eyes narrowing. He blinks once, and then smiles again, sweet as sugar. “Right. Cupid. You do catch on fast.” Matt drawls before shaking his head. “No, sorry. You just come up as Franklin.” He explains, and his smile widens. “But I like Foggy better.” He hums thoughtfully. “Foggy and Matt. Foggy Nelson and Matt Murdock.”
Foggy laughs at the pleased look on his face.
“Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Got a nice ring to it.” Matt nods, practically grinning now.
“It really does.”
“I’m not so sure about this, Matt. I mean, she’s cute and all, but I’m not just looking for cute.” Matt shakes his head.
“No, she shows a lot of potential. Her string’s already a very nice blue, almost a dark purple.” Foggy sighs and holds up his hands for inspection like he does every time Matt mentions the strings.
“You make me feel like a puppet.” He complains. “How do you even see these things again? I thought love was blind.”
Matt glares at him, and Foggy giggles. That joke gets funnier every time.
“I don’t need to see anything other than the strings.” Matt points out tersely. “What would be the point of seeing anything else?”
He actually sounds serious, and Foggy feels a pang of something a little too deep to be pity. Matt says this a lot, every time Foggy asks. He’s blind, he tells Foggy, because his only function is to find love for other people. Any other visual input would just be a distraction. Matt can’t see the blue sky, or the green grass, or even the horrible polka-dot pattern of the tie Foggy picked out for him.
And Matt doesn’t seem to care. Love is blind.
“But you can see me.” Foggy points out. “I mean, not my face or anything, but you can see me. You said I look hot as hell, right?” Matt snorts derisively, and Foggy glares. He can be hot. Dick.
“Everybody shows up like flickers of flame to me, but that’s only so I have something to connect the strings to.” He explains, exasperated. “And the strings show up as heat. I’m not really seeing them.” When Foggy takes the breath to say something, Matt sighs. “Just let me do my job, Foggy. This is what you paid for.”
Foggy closes his mouth and swallows. His job, right. Matt’s not here to be Foggy’s friend or roommate, and he’s not here to become a lawyer—which makes the fact that he keeps getting straight A’s a little insulting. He’s here to do his job, find Foggy someone to cuddle at night and then move on to greener pastures. Not that Matt could even appreciate greener pastures, Foggy thinks mutinously.
The problem is that Foggy really likes Matt, and Matt’s just doing his job. He's just here to give Foggy his prize for winning the cosmic game of karma bingo. Foggy promises himself that he’ll stop getting close, starting now. Sure, he’s said it twenty times already this week, but this time he means it.
“So, blue, huh? Does that mean she’s ready for me to put a ring on it? Someone old, something new, something borrowed, something blue?” Matt sighs and shakes his head.
“She’s a little interested. She’d say yes to a date, no problem. Once she warms up to orange, you might be able to swing it, but I recommend waiting for yellow.”
Foggy closes his eyes for a moment, breathing deeply. Matt is very good at his job, but sometimes he forgets that not everything is about it.
“Matt, the only time I’ve talked to this girl has been in Punjabi class. I wouldn’t be thinking about getting married for months, maybe years.” Matt frowns.
“That’s a long time.” He muses. “Most of my targets end up falling into bed by the end of the week.” When Foggy makes a strangled sound, Matt smiles brightly. “You can't have love without a little bit of lust.” Foggy groans, shakes his head.
“Well, goodie for your other ‘targets’—which makes you sound like a hitman, by the way—but I’m not the kind to rush into this kind of thing. I want forever, not fast.” He considers. “Besides, just because you say you’re in love with someone doesn’t mean you’ll stay that way. Do you do checkups?”
Matt blinks at him, looking honestly confused.
“Why on earth would I do checkups? I’m a matchmaker, not a marriage counselor.” He says bluntly, and Foggy snorts.
“See, you say stuff like that, and it sort of ruins your sales pitch.” He drawls dryly. “Forever, Matt. Not fast.” He repeats meaningfully. Matt nods, eyebrows furrowed.
“Well, yes. I wouldn’t leave until I was absolutely certain that it would work out for you. You’re my favorite—you deserve the best.” He adds simply, and Foggy blushes.
Matt says things like that almost as much as he talks about doing his job, and it sends some mixed messages. Matt just said he ditches as soon as he can, and then he turns right back around and says he’s not leaving Foggy until everything’s settled.
Foggy wonders vaguely if he can spin the hypothetical engagement into decades instead of years.
“Thank you.” He says honestly. From what he’s heard, Matt’s had a lot of experience in this sort of thing. The fact that Foggy’s his favorite says a lot—unless that’s a party line that he says to everyone. Foggy really, really hopes it’s not. “So, you’re sure she’ll say yes? Because she kind of looks out of my league, Matt.”
Matt shakes his head, frowning.
“No one’s out of your league.” He says, firm like there is absolutely no valid argument to this. “You’re my favorite.” Like that’s the be all and end all of romantic eligibility.
“Thank you.” Foggy says again, and he thanks god Matt can’t see how red his face is. Although, heat. Can Matt see it? Is Foggy lighting up like a Christmas tree in his senses right now? Foggy hurries on and forces himself not to think about it. Matt’s kind—he won’t say anything even if he can sense it. “So, it’s a yes?”
“Absolutely. She’ll love you, Foggy.” Matt gives that stupid, soft smile that makes Foggy swallow and causes his heart to skip a beat. “Hey, don’t be nervous. Just take deep breaths and be yourself. Yourself is pretty amazing.”
Blushing, and now the heartbeat. Lucky for Foggy, Matt tends to make his heart go crazy when he’s giving him pep talks like this, so Foggy’s been able to pass it off as anxiety so far. He’s not sure how long that will last, but he’s hoping it’ll be forever. Having an itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny crush on your cupid is not a good idea.
“Okay.” Foggy takes a deep breath. “Okay. Thanks. I can do this.”
“Right behind you.” Matt tells him cheerfully, and Foggy feels the slight tingle that means Matt’s faded. It’s sort of a wonderful feeling, sharp and a little fizzy, like sweet soda pop on his skin without the stickiness. Foggy glances down at his shadow and sees the telltale shape of Matt’s form replacing his own. Very Peter Pan, never gets old.
Shadow Matt gives him a thumbs-up, and Foggy rolls his eyes and goes.
To his great surprise, Jennifer Walters seems quite happy to go on a date with him. She admires his pronunciation in Punjabi, apparently.
“I told you.” Shadow Matt says, voice smug and intimate in Foggy’s ear. Foggy shivers, but like usual he’s the only one who can hear Matt in this form.
It’s incredibly distracting, because it always feels like Matt’s standing right behind him and murmuring directly into Foggy’s ear, hot breath and warm body. Foggy tends to lose his train of thought when Matt does this, and it never looks good in front of the person he’s trying to impress.
They go to get burgers, and Foggy is impressed by Jennifer’s healthy appetite. No salad with the dressing on the side and unsweetened ice tea—Jennifer gets a double cheeseburger with fries, and a milkshake with extra whipped cream and chocolate sauce. Foggy is able to order his own milkshake without feeling like a glutton, and he’s about to order onion rings when Matt steps in.
“Uh-uh.” He chides. “Kissing. You don’t want to have bad breath, do you?” Foggy very carefully does not turn to glare at him.
It doesn’t matter if he has bad breath, he wants to hiss. It’s not like he’s going to be Frenching Jennifer on the first date, and he has a serious craving for onion rings. Jennifer seems to agree, because she laughs.
“You should get them. We can share an order.” She says cheerfully, and Foggy gives her a grateful look.
“You are an amazing individual.” He tells her honestly, and Jennifer nods agreeably. One order to onion rings and a split sundae later, Foggy feels like he might explode from all the food, but he also feels incredibly relaxed and content.
Jennifer is awesome, smart and funny and totally confident in her own skin. She also takes two other classes in addition to the Punjabi with Foggy, so they can study together. They have four of these study dates, complete with junk food and movie nights, before Foggy realizes it’s not going to work.
They haven’t even kissed yet, even though neither one still has onion breath, and Foggy’s totally okay with that. Jennifer seems to feel the same, because one night when they’ve finished going over their action verbs, she takes a deep breath and gets her serious soon-to-be-lawyer face on.
“Is this a date?” She asks, and she looks solemn and a little guilty. Foggy smiles and shakes his head.
“Friend date, maybe.” He answers honestly, and Jennifer beams and hugs him.
“What?” Matt yelps, shocked. “But it was going so well! You’re sitting on her bed right now!” Foggy ignores him.
“You are going to make some lucky lady very happy one day.” Jennifer tells him quietly, smile sincere. Foggy grins.
“Or some lucky laddie.” He agrees easily, and Jennifer laughs, looking surprised.
“Not bad, Nelson.” She teases. “That means I can talk you up to all my friends, not just those of the feminine persuasion.”
“What?” Matt repeats, sounding stunned and a little upset. “You never mentioned I could match you with guys! Do you have any idea how many potentials I’ve wasted because I thought you’d say no?” He groans. “Now I’m going to have to go back and do them all again! It’ll take forever!”
“I look forward to it.”
Jennifer seems to have unofficially become a cupid as well, because she matches Foggy with four of her friends over the next two months.
“She has horrible taste.” Matt grumbles. “None of them have scored more than a blue.” Yikes, that’s a little depressing. Apparently blue means a passing interest, but nothing that they’ll likely want to pursue. Four blues in a row is a little pathetic.
“Well, Jennifer doesn’t have a degree in string theory.” Foggy points out, and waits for the sweet little snort Matt always gives when Foggy tells a horrible joke. Adorable, cuter every time he hears it. Luckily Foggy has a steady supply of horrible jokes to offer.
“Nerd.” Matt says fondly. Then he frowns. “But she should still know better. None of these people are good enough for you.” Matt says, and he looks very earnest and more than a little frustrated. Stupid blush—Foggy can’t help it.
“Oh, come on. They’re great people.” Foggy argues. “It’s just a matter of chemistry. You know that more than anyone.” Matt sighs, a little forlorn.
“Yeah, I guess.” He mutters, and Foggy bumps his shoulder gently.
“It’ll work out.” He reassures him, even though he’s pretty sure that even if he gets a yellow, it’s not going to ‘work out’. He’ll sabotage the relationship himself if he has to, when Matt’s not around—although, come to think of it, Matt’s always around. Matt’s either trailing behind in his shadow and offering overbearing dating advice, or Foggy’s trailing behind Matt and doing everything else. They go to class together, eat together, study together, laugh together, and whisper at night together—pretty much everything from when Foggy wakes up until he goes to sleep.
Foggy’s not quite sure what Matt does when Foggy is asleep, but it’s probably something creepy like making spreadsheets about Foggy’s kissing technique.
“You have so many potentials.” Matt sighs sadly. “It’s hard to sort through them all. Even right now, you’ve got five in the immediate vicinity. Blue though. I don’t get it—why do you have so many blues, but you never slip into purple?”
Foggy clears his throat. Honestly, if the ‘strings’ take his choice into account at all, he’s probably never getting beyond blue. He’s not really interested in anyone… else. Pretty much just Matt, dorky Matt who takes his job too seriously and always steals Foggy’s cookie even though Foggy’s not sure Matt actually needs to eat.
He’s not telling Matt about his crush though. Ever.
“Do you have any strings?” He asks, trying to hide the hope in his voice behind a healthy dose of curiosity. Matt would have said something by now though, wouldn’t he? Unless he was waiting for Foggy to make the first move. Oh, please, let him be waiting for Foggy to make the first move. Matt could be blue. Matt could be yellow.
“Uh, no. As far as I know, I don’t have any.” Matt says, a little awkward. “It’s not really…there’s not really much point. I’m here to match other people, not myself.”
“So, you don’t have any? I mean, I know people find you attractive. A lot of people find you attractive.” Including me. ”None of that pings your true love radar?” Foggy checks carefully. Matt hesitates, and then shakes his head.
“I can’t be anyone’s true love.” He explains, a little subdued. “That’s not how it works.”
“Oh.” Foggy mutters. No chance, absolutely none. Perfect. He looks at Matt, who is sitting there biting his lip and twiddling his thumbs. No chance for anything more, but Matt’s his friend, and Foggy’s going to keep it that way. He swallows down his bitter disappointment and smiles questioningly. “And you’re fine with that?” He might have no chance, but it doesn’t seem fair that Matt doesn’t, not with anyone.
Matt is quiet for a very long time.
“…Yes.” He says finally, almost a whisper. “Of course. Sure.”
He doesn’t sound very sure.
And Foggy wants to push, because how can Matt spend all of his time looking for love, but never look for himself? Has he really become so jaded from his work, or is it just… not something Matt does? Matt’s never seemed to mind that he can’t see. Maybe he doesn’t mind that nobody loves him either.
The thought makes Foggy’s stomach hurt.
“Okay.” He tells Matt finally, although it doesn’t feel okay. “As long as you’re happy.”
“Of course I’m happy.” Matt promises, smile a little twitchy. “Why wouldn’t I be happy? I love my job.”
Liar, Foggy thinks, remembering Matt’s smile the first time they met. It had been fake, like he was reading from a script. Going through the motions. Matt never checks up on the people he matches, and Foggy wonders if it’s because he doesn’t want to know, or because he doesn’t care to.
He wonders if Matt will check up on him.
“So.” He says, and he pretends everything’s fine and smiles like he should. “Tell me about these blues. I’m sure I can charm my way up to a purple in no time.”
Matt smiles back, and it looks realer than the one Foggy’s remembering. All of Matt’s smiles are real now, which is one of the reasons Foggy wants to keep him as long as possible.
He needs to keep Matt smiling.
“Well, there’s a guy in your ethics class that seems okay…”
James Wesley is…interesting.
He’s handsome, in an unconventional way, and he’s got a sly smirk that’s actually pretty attractive. He’s also a snappy dresser, and he’s one of the smartest students in Foggy’s ethics class.
It’s not his work ethic that’s in question. It’s his ethics ethic.
“I mean, he’s got a point. You’ve got to get your hands dirty if you want to change things.” Matt tries, but he doesn’t sound very convinced. Actually, he sounds a little disturbed. Foggy can wholeheartedly agree with that part. James is sort of incredibly disturbing.
It’s not in an overt way. Actually, James is quite charming, all things considered. No, it’s something in the way that he never flinches when they’re watching a documentary and the gunshots start. He doesn’t even blink, like the blood and screams don’t register as a problem to him. And maybe he’s just got a great poker face and a cool head, but…
James is talking about how sometimes you need to get things started with a bang, if you want to get people’s attention. Somehow the way he says ‘bang’ makes the hair on the back of Foggy’s neck stand up.
“He is purple though.” Matt muses, sounding a little worried. “Is this really your type? No one else has scored this high.”
Foggy takes a sip of his water to hide his wince. The worst part is, James isn’t entirely not his type. He likes people that are willing to take charge and stand up for their beliefs. He likes hard workers. He likes charismatic people (well, who doesn’t, that’s sort of the point) with a dry sense of humor. He likes smart people too, people who always have a clever remark or a sly argument.
He also sort of really likes guys with dark hair and glasses. Apparently. What a weird coincidence. Foggy very carefully does not think of dark-haired, bespectacled Matt with the clever words and the charming smile and the perfect everything.
“So, what do you think about the new initiative on controlling organized crime?” Foggy asks politely instead of asking for the check and fleeing. He spends the next half hour growing steadily more and more stunned as James talks about the merits of criminal syndicates in controlling pettier, more violent law-breakers.
He’s not unconvincing, which is a little terrifying.
“Nope, not happening.” Matt says flatly when James gracefully offers to cover the bill. “Split the check and get out of there. He’s corrupting you.”
Foggy thinks this is entirely too dramatic, but he obediently smiles and slips his credit card onto the table next to the one James has put out, then makes vague plans to meet up again in the future before leaving quickly.
Matt emerges as soon as they’re out of sight, slipping into view from behind a skinny lamppost with impossible grace. Which is amazingly cool, to be honest.
“I am so sorry.” He tells Foggy, looking entirely horrified. “I have no idea how that happened.” Foggy shrugs.
“It wasn’t that bad.” He assures him. “Actually, I might consider—“
“No.” Matt says firmly, frowning. “No, you’d break up in less than a week, or else you’d end up being the pet lawyer in his inevitable, iron-fisted criminal empire. Not on my watch.”
“James isn’t going to start an iron-fisted criminal empire.” Foggy argues, exasperated, but Matt shakes his head and takes Foggy’s arm.
“Lead.” Matt orders like Foggy’s a dog doing a trick, and Foggy rolls his eyes but does. “No, he’s not right for you at all. I’ll have to do a better background check next time.”
“No stalking people around campus.” Foggy warns. “You freaked out my last four dates doing that.”
“I won’t stalk.” Matt promises. “I’ll be sneaky.”
“Stalking is sneaky.” Foggy informs him, exasperated. “That’s what makes it stalking.”
Matt sighs, shoulders slumping.
“I don’t get it. It was so easy with everybody else. But I can't find anyone good enough for you.”
I can. Foggy smiles and pats his arm comfortingly.
“Hey, we’ll figure it out, buddy.” He promises. “I’ll be hopelessly in love in no time.”
Literally, no time. That shipped sailed a month ago. He wonders how long it will take Matt to figure that out, and what his reaction will be. Matt said he can’t fall in love, but he doesn’t think he'd would be a dick about it if he knew how Foggy felt. Actually, he’d probably be incredibly guilty, which is one of the reasons he can’t know. Matt has already shown a startling proclivity for guilt, mostly for his perceived failure as a matchmaker. Foggy’s pretty sure making a target fall in love with him might actually break his brain.
“Do you think?” Matt asks, and he doesn’t sound quite as hopeful as Foggy thought he would. Actually, he looks glummer than ever. Foggy nods as confidently as he can, patting Matt’s arm again and opening the door to their dorm building.
“Yeah, absolutely. Trust me, no time at all.”
Matt is a little too protective of him.
Once, a girl says no to a date with Foggy and she’s a little mean about it. Nothing Foggy can’t handle and nothing he hasn’t heard before, but Matt… doesn’t take it well.
Matt makes sympathetic sounds, running soothing hands over his shoulders and down his back when Foggy’s sitting in class afterwards. It probably looks ridiculous and more than a little homoerotic to anyone watching (if only), but Matt doesn’t seem to care.
Matt is either incredibly oblivious or an exhibitionist.
“She was stupid anyway. I bet she was ugly.” Matt murmurs to him tenderly. “You’re wonderful. You need someone perfect, someone who worships you.”
The guy next to them gives Foggy an alarmed look and scoots a little away. His face is bright red and Foggy thinks this is probably the start of yet another rumor about just how close Foggy is with his roommate.
Foggy clears his throat but doesn’t move away. Matt does the touching thing a lot, especially lately. Foggy’s not sure if he’s this tactile because of the blind thing or because he’s all about sharing the love. Either way, Foggy’s used to it. He doesn’t even blush anymore.
“It’s cool.” Foggy whispers back. “I actually didn’t like her very much. I just hadn’t asked anyone out in a while.” Two months, longest stretch he’s ever managed before Matt interferes. Foggy figured he might as well bit the bullet on his own terms. “Thought you might be getting bored.”
Matt shakes his head, frowning.
“Of course not.” He denies. “You know I’m never bored around you.” His fingers run gently up Foggy’s neck in a brief caress before moving back down. The guy next to them snorts and pulls out his phone, then puts it right back in his pocket after Foggy shoots him his best venomous glare.
As much as Foggy likes Matt touching him, he does not want it going viral on YouTube.
“Ditto.” Foggy tells him, bumping their shoulders together. Matt decides this is an invitation to wrap his arm around Foggy’s shoulders and keep him there. Also something Foggy’s used to. “Better luck next time, right?” Matt nods.
“Yeah, but we should be careful. Take it slow. No need to rush.” He advises, and Foggy blinks at him.
Matt’s been telling him since the beginning to rush, to strike while the iron is hot and figure out the details later. Matt’s all about passion, living in the moment. Matt makes people fall in love in under a week, and he appears to think that making out and more is okay on the first date as long as it ‘feels right’.
Although, now that Foggy thinks about it, Matt hasn’t been urging him to get hot and heavy in a while. It’s been months since Matt’s told him that ‘her heartbeat’s speeding up, go for it’. Matt’s been sedate, worrying more about getting Foggy dinner than getting him a date.
It makes a nice change. When Matt’s not cheering him on, it’s much easier to throw the game.
“Sounds good to me.” He says honestly. “Forever, not fast.” It’s become his mantra when Matt gets a little too enthusiastic, and apparently the conditioning is finally paying off. Matt smiles and nods.
“Actually, I’m thinking maybe we should hold off for a while, give you time to recover.” He offers generously, and it’s very sweet but Foggy’s pretty sure it’s also truancy on Matt’s part. Foggy doesn’t want him to get in trouble.
“I’m really okay.” Foggy tells him, amused. “I’m not made of glass.”
“Of course you’re not.” Matt assures him. “I just want—“
“Murdock, you’re with Matsumoto. Make it good.” The teacher barks, and Foggy stares at the front of the room for a second before turning back to Matt.
“Maki was supposed to be debating with me.” He points out, confused. Actually, it was how he met her in the first place, and also how he decided she’d be a good dating placeholder. She has no respect for his academic skills and he’s about as far away from her physical type as he can get. And yeah, debating with her might be a little awkward right after getting rejected, but it also might help Foggy blow off some steam.
“Looks like the professor changed his mind.” Matt tells him lightly, starting to gather his papers.
“I just talked to him this morning.” Foggy argues. The man had wished him luck. A thought strikes him. “Wait, is this what you were doing when you said you had to ‘go get your lucky pen’? Were you changing the schedule?” Had Matt done this on purpose?
Matt shrugs, clicking the offending pen in one hand. He doesn’t even use a pen, he just stole it from Foggy when he said he liked the clicking sound.
He steps away and Foggy grabs his arm, pulling him back closer.
“Matt, this is a completely different topic! We can’t just switch.” He whispers urgently, and Matt grins at him.
“We wrote them together. Don’t worry so much.”
“Murdock! Now, or Matsumoto gets an extra minute for rebuttal.” The teacher warns, and Matt tugs his arm free gently and turns to go.
“Give her two.” He says cheerfully. “She’ll need it.”
It’s brutal. Matt probably wins the debate in the first five minutes, and then he just…keeps going. He doesn’t just plead his case, he destroys Maki Matsumoto’s, tearing apart every point like tissue paper and smiling the whole time. Matsumoto’s crying by the time he’s done.
The teacher waves Matt back to his seat, looking shaken.
“Jesus Christ, Matt. What was that?” Foggy hisses. Matt’s smile widens and he clicks the pen again, leaning over to tuck it behind Foggy’s ear, fingers lingering to tug at Foggy’s hair gently.
“Here. For good luck.”
The guy next to them snickers and pulls out his phone again. There’s a quick snap of a photo being taken, and Foggy’s stealing it out of his hand a moment later, deleting not only the incriminating picture but also the dozen or so chronicling the guy’s birthday party.
“Nelson and Toby.” The teacher calls. The phone guy—Toby—shakes his head, eyes wide with dawning horror. Foggy grins viciously at him and tosses back the phone.
“Who needs luck? Give him three minutes.”
Matt’s not the only one who’s a little too protective.
Eventually Matt lets him try dating again, once Foggy is suitably ‘recovered’.
And Foggy actually thinks his next date might be going pretty well. They get all the way through dinner without any horrifying revelations about organized crime like he got from James Wesley, and they take a walk afterwards.
Actually, he thinks it’s going very well. Matt’s pretty quiet during it, which must mean Foggy’s doing something right. Right?
He gets a goodnight kiss at the end, and there’s definitely a little bit of lingering. Good kisser, and when Karen pulls away she gives Foggy a brilliant smile and asks to call him later.
“Not right at all.” Matt tells him on the way back. “Complete miss.”
“Really?” Foggy asks curiously. “I thought it was nice, actually. We had a lot to talk about.”
“Yeah, I was totally getting a friend vibe.” Matt informs him bluntly. “No passion.” Foggy frowns at him. Matt’s looking entirely serious, fierce frown and everything.
“It was a pretty good kiss.” Foggy informs him. “I mean, you can probably sense that somehow even if you can’t see it, but it was good.” Matt shakes his head, slipping into their room behind Foggy and pulling off his coat. It’s an annoyingly nice coat—apparently cupids get a generous stipend for their work, although Foggy has no idea where they get their money. Matt won’t tell him, but Foggy’s 90% sure it’s leprechaun gold.
Matt’s offered to buy Foggy all kinds of things, from books to clothes to jewelry, but Foggy always turns him down. He doesn’t want to get nailed for counterfeiting money when the leprechaun gold dissolves into rainbows. Or whatever.
Matt buys him things anyway, usually sneaking them into Foggy’s things. He seems to think that Foggy won’t notice a new Rolex if it’s hidden in a pair of old socks. The guy’s insane, clearly, but Foggy buys him things too so it’s not like he has room to complain. For example, he bought Matt the ridiculously expensive white cashmere scarf that Matt’s unwinding from his neck right now.
Matt runs his fingers over the soft scarf and smiles happily, and Foggy decides it was worth every hard-earned penny.
“No, it wasn’t a good kiss.” Matt tells him confidently, like he’s the one who got kissed and knows what it felt like. “There wasn’t nearly enough intensity. You didn’t even moan.”
“Um.” Foggy says, wide-eyed. “Do you think you could maybe not listen in on my moans, in the future? That’s a little too creepy, even for you.” Matt shakes his head.
“It’s my job to listen in on your moans.” He claims, not a hint of shame in his voice. “I’ve got to make sure you make the right kind. Moans are important in my line of work.” Foggy grimaces.
“Do not listen in on my moans.” He orders firmly. Matt glares.
“It’s a moot point, because there are no moans to listen in on!” He cries, a little accusingly. “This isn’t working! You're not—“ He growls, running a hand through his hair. “Just tell me what you want from me, because you’re driving me crazy and I don’t know what to do. Aren’t you frustrated?” He waves up and down Foggy’s body in a rather suggestive motion. “You must be desperate by now.”
“Excuse me?” Foggy asks, incredibly offended. “I’m sorry I’m not automatically falling into love with every single person I run into, but that’s because I want to wait for the real thing.” Matt snarls, whipping off his glasses and twisting them between his hands like he always does when he's angry and god, Foggy loves those eyes.
“Stop calling it love! I hate it when you do that!” Matt hisses. “I’m not here for—” He stops, making an infuriated sound. “You haven’t had sex since I got here. Never! You come back to me every single night, and I never—Why? Why do you come back? You shouldn’t come back. Don’t you want…” He swallows hard, eyes dark and desperate. “Don’t you want?”
“Lust isn’t love, Matt.” Foggy says, low and angry. Matt laughs, a little hysterically.
“Lust has worked pretty damn well for me so far!”
Foggy flinches. He doesn’t lust. He doesn’t want to have sex, not with anyone but Matt. And yeah, he knows that it’s not going to happen, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to go mattress surfing with everyone who will give him a second look, just to fill the void. But apparently Matt thinks he should, Matt wants him to. Matt’s not waiting. Matt’s not pining.
“Fine.” Foggy says softly, buttoning up his coat again. “I’ll go fix that, shall I?” Matt makes a startled sound, taking a step closer.
“No! You don’t have to.” Matt tells him hastily. “Not if you don’t want to.”
But Foggy’s angry. Foggy’s furious, and Matt wants him to.
“No, you’re right. It’s a good start. You’re a great cupid, Matt. Just doing your job.” He steps through the door, hesitates, and then turns around. “Don’t follow me, and don’t listen in on my moans.”
He walks away before he can change his mind, but he thinks he might hear Matt whispering as he goes, urgent and upset and under his breath.
“It doesn’t matter. Make him happy. Finish the deal. Just do your job.”
Right. Just do his job.
Marci Stahl is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma, and that enigma is covered in sweet sticky poison and also comes with a free reality check.
“You’re Murdock’s boyfriend, aren’t you?” She asks when Foggy asks to buy her a drink, and it’s made even more horrible by the fact that despite her smirk, she actually does not appear to be kidding.
“Uh, no.” Foggy says, and he hopes he doesn’t sound too bitter. “Nope. No boyfriends. Not at all. No dates, no kisses, no nothing.”
Yup. Definitely too bitter.
“Well.” Marci says, blinking at him. Then she shrugs, a fluid motion emphasizing her bare, pale shoulders. “Alright then. Pull up a chair, Foggy Bear.”
“Foggy Bear?” Foggy asks disbelievingly, but he obediently sits down across the table from Marci. Marci smirks.
“Sure. You look cuddly most of the time, but then when you least expect it—grr.” She makes the proper motions with her hands like she’s got claws, and with her perfectly manicured and worryingly pointy nails, it’s a pretty good impression. “You’re a good debater. You made my roommate have a minor mental breakdown.”
She looks disturbingly pleased with this fact.
“Uh, sorry.” Foggy says, a little unsurely. Marci shakes her head.
“Don’t be. She had it coming.” Uh-oh. “So, are you sure you’re not dating Murdock? This is the first time I’ve seen you without him hovering over your shoulder and glaring at me.” Foggy blinks.
“Matt doesn’t glare at you.” He denies. “Why would he glare at you?” Marci snorts.
“I’d sort of assumed it was because he was a jealous boyfriend, and he somehow sensed me ogling you.”
“Oh.” Foggy whispers, wide-eyed. Marci was ogling him? He’d just tried to talk to her because she was the only one he knew in the bar and she was amazingly hot. He’d noticed her in class, but he’d never thought she might have noticed him back. “No, Matt’s not… we’re not dating.” He almost adds ‘unfortunately’, but stops himself just in time. Marci doesn’t seem fooled.
“Not for lack of trying, I’m guessing.” She muses dryly, and when Foggy gapes at her, she adds, “You tend to stare woobily in his direction whenever he can’t see you, which is—oh, right, all the time.”
“I do not!” Foggy protests hotly, and then deflates when Marci looks unimpressed. “Oh, god. Do I?”
“All the time.” Marci repeats, and she doesn’t sound like she means it in an unkind way. She sounds like she’s just stating a fact. “Don’t worry, he stares woobily in your direction too, when he’s not glaring people off.”
“He doesn’t glare people off.” Foggy protests, a little resentfully. “Actually, he’s pretty obsessed with pairing me off. He’s constantly making me go on dates and talking about true love. He’s a regular cupid.” He adds, a little more resentfully. Marci chuckles.
“Oh, denial. That sounds about right.” She shrugs. “Well, he’ll figure it out eventually. So, what, Murdock’s putting you up to this?” She waves between them before stretching to look around the bar. “He’s not hiding in the shadows ready to jump out and slap me with his cane if I flirt, is he?”
“No!” Foggy assures her quickly. Then he considers. Matt kind of hides in the shadows a lot, literally. And Foggy told him not to follow, but how does he know Matt listened?
He leans back a little to check his shadow. Just plain Foggy Nelson. It feels a little strange not to see Matt waving back at him.
“So this is all you?” Marci checks, dubious. Foggy nods, and when she continues giving him a flat look, he sighs, shoulders slumping.
“Matt thinks I need to have sex.” He admits, and Marci stares at him for a long moment before bursting out laughing.
“Oh, I’ll just bet he does.” She mutters, grinning. “So, you want to sleep with me to make your not-boyfriend happy?” Foggy splutters, shaking his head.
“No, I would never ask you to do that! I was just… I was angry, so I sort of stormed out. I don’t know what I was thinking. I’m so sorry, it was awful of me to even consider…” He trails off, rubbing a hand over his too-hot face. “I’m sorry.”
Marci hums, considering.
“I actually would, if you wanted to.” She says thoughtfully. “You’re cute. But!” She adds, holding up a slender finger. “I don’t think you really want to. I think you’re just doing it because you think Murdock wants you to.”
“I’m not.” Foggy assures her. “I think you’d be a fantastic girlfriend. You’re so smart and pretty. I just… Matt. You know?”
Now Marci’s smile has faded a little. It’s more pensive than entertained. She taps one long fingernail against the side of her glass.
Finally, she leans forward a little.
“Girlfriend, huh?” She murmurs, looking interested. “Not just a lay.” She stays silent for a moment, and then smiles brightly. “You're a good guy, aren't you? Sure, let’s do it.”
“Huh?” Foggy asks, stunned. “You mean, you want to—“
“A little bit of kissing doesn’t count as betraying your oh-so-noble feelings, and it sort of sounds like you need some. A lot.” Marci offers bluntly. “And like I said, you’re cute.”
Foggy honestly is not quite sure what to do, or what to say. He’d sort of been expecting to ask to buy Marci a drink, and for Marci to tell him no. Then he’d slink home to Matt and say that he’d tried his hardest, but it just wasn’t going to work, might as well wait for his dumb-as-a-rock true love to figure out that they’re meant to be together.
He was not expecting Marci to say yes.
“So, you want to date?” He asks, just to be sure. Marci nods easily.
“Yeah, why not? Could be fun.”
“Even though you know how I feel about Matt?” He checks. Marci nods again.
“His loss. Might as well have some fun until he gets a clue.”
“There’s no clue for him to get.” Foggy says, but it’s hollow. He’s too busy panicking. A date. He can get a date, and it’s got a much higher chance of success than his other ones primarily because it’s already failed. He can get dinner, and talk to a pretty woman and have a few laughs, and there is absolutely no chance of it working out. He’ll get Matt off his back, and be able to stall for more time.
“So, you still want to buy me a drink?” Marci asks slyly, smile sharp. Foggy takes a deep breath and nods.
He gets back to the dorm three hours later. He’d bought Marci a drink, and then another one. Then they’d gone back to her room and had a very intense make-out session. Foggy had been a little hesitant at first, but Marci had been really, really persuasive. He’d ended up enjoying himself quite thoroughly, and Marci had seemed flatteringly impressed.
He finds Matt sitting on Foggy’s bed, knees drawn up to his chest and fiddling with his white cashmere scarf. When he hears the door open, he looks up, eyes wide.
“You’re back!” He exclaims, looking relieved. “I wasn’t sure…I didn’t follow you.” He promises earnestly. Foggy nods, smiling.
“Yeah, I know. Thanks.” He’s incredibly grateful that Matt wasn’t there to witness his conversation with Marci. Just the first sentence would have been damning. ‘Aren’t you Murdock’s boyfriend?’
“Sure.” Matt says dismissively, sitting up a little straighter and lowering his legs. “So, you had a good time?” Foggy nods, genuinely enthusiastic.
“It was fun.” He agrees. Matt smiles at him, a little hesitantly.
"But you didn't...?" He gestures helplessly and very suggestively, and Foggy makes a strangled noise.
"No, Matt." Foggy groans. "I do not want to know how you know that, but no. We had a very lovely evening together and I have no complaints or pent up sexual frustration inside of me." Liar. "But no."
“That’s good." Matt reassures him, like he wasn't the one ordering Foggy to get laid in the first place. "And you’re feeling better? You’ve got it out of your system? Ready to look for love again?”
“Actually…” Foggy starts carefully. “I’m already looking. We’re going out again this weekend.”
Matt goes very still.
“Oh.” He says, softly. “Great.”
“Yeah.” Foggy agrees, uncomfortable. It had seemed like a good idea at the time, but now that he’s looking at Matt’s face again it all comes flooding back why he’s never tried anything like this before. All he wants is Matt. “She’s nice.”
“She’s nice.” Matt repeats, a little faintly. “Okay. Who is she?” He gives a brief, tight little grin that fades quickly. “I can tell you your love horoscope.” Foggy gives a nervous chuckle. Honestly? He’s not sure he wants to know.
“Marci. Marci Stahl. I don’t know if you remember her. She said she’d seen you around campus—oh, not that we were talking about you.” For two hours. “It just came up. Really briefly.” He clears his throat. “So. Marci?”
Matt goes still and very, very quiet. He stays that way, stony as a statue, for a very long time. He runs a gentle finger along his cashmere scarf, and then he smiles, slow and sweet.
“Of course I remember. Marci Stahl.” He says deliberately, pulling the scarf tight between his hands in a sharp, brutal motion. “Blue.”
For someone in the blue, Marci seems pretty into him.
Foggy’s not fooling himself into thinking it’s true love, but they have a lot of fun together. Most of that fun involves activities with very little talking involved, true, but Marci’s also a—well, ‘nice’ doesn’t seem to be the right word.
‘Fun’ seems to the best one. Maybe with ‘dangerous’ as a close second.
“Another perfect score.” Marci purrs, wrapping her arms around his neck from behind and leaning in to whisper in his ear. “We should celebrate.”
“Uh, yes.” Foggy nods quickly, almost head-butting her in his enthusiasm. “Sure. Good plan.”
“I thought so.” She says lowly, and presses a brief kiss to his neck. Then she straightens, keeping her hands on his shoulders. “Oh, hello, Matthew. Sorry, I didn’t see you there for a second. I was a little distracted. How did you do on the exam?”
Matt smiles at her blandly.
“Perfect score.” He says without a hint of a brag in his voice. “Foggy and I studied together.” Marci laughs.
“Maybe you should study with me next time.” She says, squeezing Foggy’s shoulders. “Can’t argue with the results, and I have a few fun…studying tricks of my own.”
“Um.” Foggy says, staring a little wide-eyed at Matt. He thinks studying with Marci would be fun, but probably not very productive with all the extra activities. Studying with Matt is fun and productive, even if it is frustratingly empty of extra activities. And it’s a tradition too. He just… he studies with Matt. They stay up the night before the exam and quiz each other, and spend maybe half their time giggling and making up rhymes to remember the answers.
“Of course. We’d be happy to study with you. Just come by our room any time.” Matt says easily, standing and shouldering his bag. “Ready for lunch, Foggy?”
“Yeah.” Foggy says happily, going to stand. Marci pushes him back down for a moment, hands still on his shoulders.
“Don’t forget we have dinner tonight.” She scolds him. “Don’t ruin your appetite.”
Foggy cranes his head to look up at her.
“We have dinner?” He asks, confused. He didn’t think they had anything going on until Friday, but Marci seems quite sure. “Okay.” Why not? He likes dinner with Marci.
“Good boy.” She praises, patting him rather patronizingly on the head. “Pay for dinner and I’ll let you have dessert.”
“Awesome!” Foggy enthuses. Double chocolate lava cake, here he comes! “I’ll pick you up at seven, okay?” Marci nods agreeably and finally lets him stand, giving him a light kiss on the cheek as she does so.
“Lovely.” She smiles, then nods at Matt. “You two enjoy your lunch.” Matt smiles back mildly, and Marci’s gone in a swirl of skirts and spritely perfume.
“Man, she’s like a wildfire.” Foggy tells him earnestly on the way to the cafeteria. “I don’t even know.”
“So long as you’re not the kindling.” Matt tells him, smirking when Foggy snorts.
“Lame, Matt. So lame. No, Marci’s cool though.” He hesitates. “You’re sure she’s blue?” She seems really okay with everything they’re doing, and she’s reminding him about dinner like she actually wants to go. Marci seems fond. That’s got to at least be worth a purple.
Matt gives him a small, supportive smile.
“I’m sorry, Foggy.” He says softly, squeezing Foggy’s elbow briefly. “Still blue.”
“It’s okay.” It’s not that Foggy wants Marci to fall madly in love with him—that’s not fair to either of them. No, it’s not that. It’s just that Foggy hasn’t had anything higher than a blue in months. Is he really that unattractive? “Maybe in a little bit.”
“Maybe.” Matt agrees kindly, patting his arm. “Now, tell me about what you wrote as your persuasive essay on alternatives to capital punishment.” Foggy brightens, grinning.
“Oh, man. It was genius. Okay, so…”
He chatters all the way into the cafeteria, through the line, and on the way to the table. Matt shares his own essay while they eat, and by the time Foggy’s reaching for his cookie—only to realize that Matt stole it again—he’s in awe.
“You’re going to be such an amazing lawyer. Hell’s Kitchen won’t know what hit it.” He tells Matt admiringly. Matt freezes. “What?” Foggy asks, confused. Matt slowly puts his stolen cookie down on his tray.
“I’m not going to be a lawyer.” He reminds Foggy quietly, face unreadable. “Remember?” Foggy feels his stomach drop as he remembers.
Matt’s not here for law school. Matt’s not here to learn. Matt’s here to talk Foggy up and get him laid and/or get him loved. He’s never going to graduate and go out and get ragingly drunk in celebration, and maybe in the heat of the moment lean over and kiss Foggy, quick and messy, and then, oh, realize that he’s been missing the fact that he’s been madly in love with Foggy forever and lean back in and do it right this time, and…
And Foggy wonders. Matt’s got a whole, sweet little identity thing going on here. No family to speak of as Matt Murdock—too messy. He’s also got an apparently bottomless bank account and a presence on campus, connections to corroborate his story. And he’s happy here, Foggy knows he is. He wonders how far the cover can stretch, how long it will take before the love police realize that Foggy’s not letting Matt go. Can Matt get a job? If Foggy stalls long enough, can Matt be a lawyer?
He’s got to try.
“I still think that you’d be amazing.” Foggy tells him honestly. Matt blinks at him, and then he gets this little smile on his face, so heart-wrenchingly happy that Foggy can’t quite breathe.
“I know that you’ll be amazing.” Matt tells him quietly, and slides the uneaten half of the stolen cookie over to him like it’s an award just for existing. Foggy beams and takes a huge bite.
Matt’s right. Foggy will make an amazing lawyer. He’s starting right now, with this dumb cupid contract.
As soon as I find someone for you to love, I’m free to go.
Loophole, Mr. Murdock. Foggy found him first.
“Still blue?” Foggy asks after he gets home from dinner with Marci that night. Matt nods.
“Still blue?” Foggy asks after he tells a joke that actually makes Marci laugh. Matt nods.
“Still blue?” Foggy asks after Marci invites herself to one of their study nights. Matt nods.
“Still blue?” Foggy asks after Marci has left their study night after giving Foggy one of the longest, wettest kisses of his life. Matt nods.
Foggy stares at him.
“Okay, that’s it. I need you to come with me next time.” He demands. “You can tell me what I’m doing wrong.”
“You told me not to listen in on your moans, remember?” Matt reminds him archly, and Foggy rolls his eyes.
“I’m not going to be moaning when I know you’re listening, Matt.” He says, exasperated. “Simple date, no flowers, no funny business. That’s what I need help on anyway—the talking stuff. Our more physical activities are not the problem.”
“Good to know.” He offers slowly, although he doesn’t sound like he thinks it’s very good to know at all. Foggy thinks this is a bit unfair, since Matt has, in the past, claimed that he wanted to listen to Foggy’s moans, but whatever. “I’m still not sure…you really want me to come with you?” He checks, sounding very uncertain. Foggy chuckles.
“You’ve come for every other date, whether I wanted it or not.” He points out dryly, and is a little surprised when Matt flinches. Foggy reaches out and puts a hand on his shoulder. “Hey, no. Matt, I want you to come.” He hesitates. “I kind of need you.”
So much more than Matt will ever know. Matt swallows, still looking nervous. After a long moment, he reaches up and places his hand over Foggy’s. Warm and dry and steady, and Foggy loves Matt’s hands almost as much as he loves Matt.
“I’ll do my best.” Matt promises, and Foggy grins.
He makes a date with Marci the next day, and Matt trails behind him to the restaurant.
“Are you sure you don’t just want me to come in with you?” Matt asks for the sixth time, and Foggy shakes his head like he did the last five.
“You’ll be right there anyway. What’s the point of being visible?” Matt shrugs, looking a little uncomfortable.
“It might be nice to see how Marci reacts to a third wheel.” He explains, and Foggy frowns.
“Hey, you’re not a third wheel.” He comforts, squeezing Matt’s arm. “You and me? We’re the best friend bicycle. Marci understands that.” Matt smiles at him.
“I certainly hope she does.” He murmurs softly. “Okay.” He fades, and a second later Foggy looks down and sees Matt waving in the light of the streetlamp. He waves back, probably looking like a crazy person if anyone were to walk by, and heads into the restaurant.
Matt is a harsh critic.
“Oh, she likes alfredo. You don’t like alfredo.” Foggy almost shrugs. It’s true, he’s not a fan, but he’s not going to break up with someone over cream sauce.
“You’re only talking about school. What about hobbies?” He and Marci don’t really have much in common, except for a career path and a love of heavy petting.
“She wears floral perfume. Don’t you like citrus better?” Matt likes drinking orange juice in the mornings, so of course Foggy has a little bit of a fondness for citrus. Flowers are nice too, though. Sure, they make him sneeze and Matt sneeze harder, but he likes them.
“Why are you talking about opera? You’ve never gone to an opera in your life.” This is true. Pretty much all of his knowledge is based on old Bugs Bunny cartoons.
“How does she not know you’re allergic to strawberries?” Matt asks, and he actually sounds scared and a little angry. “You can’t have shortcake! Don’t eat it, Foggy!” Like Foggy’s actually going to munch on something that’ll send him into anaphylactic shock just to impress a girl.
“So, how’s Murdock?” Marci asks casually, twirling her fork. Foggy glances, panicked, at Matt’s shadow. The shadow has gone very still. Foggy looks back towards Marci and smiles a little awkwardly.
“Oh, he’s… good. Great. Classic Matt.” Marci nods easily.
“I was sort of expecting him to pop up tonight.” She tells him nonchalantly, and Foggy chokes on his bite of lava cake.
“What?” He asks when he can finally breathe again. “Why would Matt come on our date?” He very carefully does not look down again at his shadow. Marci takes a thoughtful sip of water.
“To sabotage it.” She says bluntly, and Foggy gapes at her. He opens his mouth to deny it and Marci waves him off. “You must have noticed that we don’t like each other.”
Foggy shakes his head, eyes wide.
“No.” He admits, honestly. Matt’s seemed a little unsure about Marci, but he’s never given the impression of hating her. And Marci…actually, that one might be true. Marci has a great capacity for hate, and for crushing the objects of that hate into mushy crumbs of misery. “Maybe it’s just because you don’t know each other well enough?” Marci rolls her eyes.
“Trust me, Foggy Bear. Murdock’s never going to give you the green light to date me.” She says knowingly. Foggy frowns.
“No, come on. That’s not true.” Sure, Matt’s not rah-rah right now, but that’s because he can see the strings and apparently they’re not looking so good right now. Matt’s just watching out for him. “He’s just a little protective.” That’s a nice, neutral word. Lots of friends are protective, and the whole world knows about Matt and Foggy’s debate disaster. Matt won’t get anything from ‘protective’.
“He’s possessive.” Marci corrects him flatly. When Foggy squeaks, she ignores him and keeps going. “No, you know he is. Think about it. When’s the last time you actually managed a second date before he warns you off?” Before Marci? It was Jennifer, Matt’s first attempt. Nobody afterwards.
“That’s not Matt’s fault.” Foggy argues. “I just can’t find the spark.” Marci snorts.
“Okay, when is the last time someone asked you out on a date instead of the other way around?” Foggy considers. Never. No one’s asked Foggy out on a date since the moment Matt showed up. Before Matt, Foggy at least got some offers.
“Also not Matt’s fault.” He denies. “I’m going through a dry spell.” He’s also been actively avoiding flirting because he doesn’t want anyone to ask him out. Marci rolls her eyes and huffs, drumming her fingers on the table.
“Okay, explain this one away. The first time I saw you two together? He was feeding you ice cream. With his shirt off. While sitting on your lap.”
“It was hot out!” Foggy squeaks. “Lots of people had their shirts off! And I’d dropped my ice cream, so Matt offered to share. We just only had the one spoon!”
“Lap?” Marci asks, unimpressed.
“It was a nice day, all the benches were taken.” Foggy claims quickly. “And he wasn’t in my lap. We were just sitting really close together.”
“Right.” Marci agrees flatly. “And how about every other time after that? He’s always touching you. ”
“I touch him too.” Foggy points out. “All the time.” Marci smiles. It’s frankly pitying.
“I know.” She sighs and signals for the check. “I think we’re done for the night, don’t you?” She’s not just talking about tonight. Foggy swallows.
“Yeah. I think so.” He whispers, pushing his plate away from him, towards Marci’s. Strawberry shortcake. “I’m sorry.” Marci rolls her eyes.
“Go home, Foggy Bear.” She orders softly. “Kiss the hell out of him, and then punch him for me. Hard.”
Foggy glances again at the shadow to see how Matt’s taking this.
The shadow isn’t there.
Matt’s waiting at their room, pacing back and forth like a caged tiger and tying the scarf into knots, over and over again. His hair is a mess like he’s been running his hands through it, and he doesn’t have his glasses on. He's not even playing with them like he usually does when he's upset. Foggy doesn't see them anywhere—they're gone.
No more rose-colored glasses.
“When did you leave?” Foggy asks warily. Is Matt upset because of what he heard? There’s really no way Foggy can talk his way out of it if Matt was there at the end, but truthfully? Foggy’s not sure he wants to. He’s tired of running.
“Dessert. Shortcake.” Matt mutters darkly. “I went to get your EpiPen.” He waves somewhat wildly over at Foggy’s desk, still pacing. Foggy glances over and sees the pen, surrounded by pretty much everything else that was once in Foggy’s desk drawers. Paper, pencils, paperclips—all arranged in neat little rows and towers. Matt organizes when he’s upset.
“Thank you.” Foggy says gratefully. He’d forgotten to take one because he’s good at avoiding strawberries. Matt usually has one anyway, tucked into his bag—he must have been very distracted to forget. “So, you weren’t there when we got the bill?”
Matt shakes his head.
“Why? Did something go wrong?” He paces faster, and there’s almost a note of anticipation in his voice. Matt must really be expecting this to go badly. And yeah, it’s over between him and Marci, but Matt doesn’t realize that yet. Is it really so crazy that someone might like Foggy?
“What color was her string when you left?” Foggy asks, curious.
Matt stops dead and his face goes completely blank. He ties another slow knot in the scarf and holy hell, that’s a noose. Matt loops it over his hand and pulls it tight.
“No.” Foggy says determinedly. “No, there is no way our string is still blue. Marci likes me Matt. I know she likes me. It’s got to be purple by now, right?” Even if they didn’t work out, Marci had been nice. She’d talked about getting together later for lunch—and Foggy dragging Matt with him so Marci could punch him herself. She does like him, and purple is ‘like’. Not blue.
Matt shakes his head, and his expression smooths into a sympathetic smile.
“Blue.” He tells Foggy sadly, tugging the noose a little tighter. “I’m so sorry.” Matt hesitates. “But maybe… maybe this is a sign? That Marci’s not the one for you?”
Well, duh. But Matt doesn’t know that. Foggy frowns.
“No, it’s got to be purple, at least.” He considers, staring hard at the space between him and Matt. He still doesn’t see any strings between them, but he can’t see strings anywhere else either. “Maybe your radar is broken?” Matt narrows his eyes.
“My ‘radar’ is fine.” Matt claims confidently. “I just don’t think you and Marci are a match. No chance of yellow at all.”
“You don’t know that!” Foggy exclaims, a little angry. “You said the strings can change color. So maybe, I don’t know, maybe I’m not trying hard enough. But eventually it might get purple. Maybe red.” Red’s genuine affection, a pretty much permanent soft spot for someone even if it doesn’t work out. He thinks he could like Marci for a long time. “You can’t just tell me it’s hopeless.” Even if it is. Matt takes a deep breath.
“Marci isn’t the right person for you.” He says, slowly and clearly. “You are not meant to be together. You will never be meant to be together, because you are meant to be with someone else. Someone who loves you, more than anything else in the world, and who would give anything to be with you even if they can’t.”
Foggy closes his eyes.
“So where is this perfect person, Matt?” He asks quietly. And it hurts, because Matt sounds so sure, and that means he’s still looking. He still assumes that there’s someone out there for Foggy who’s not Matt. “Why don’t they have a pretty little string for me to follow?”
He wiggles his fingers, and Matt looks…Matt looks sick.
“Strings aren’t always right.” He says softly, winding the fabric of the scarf around his hand again. Foggy sighs.
“You’re the one who keeps saying they are, Matt. Not me.” He points out gently. He doesn’t give a damn about strings, and maybe, maybe Matt’s starting to understand that. “So you’re telling me that maybe I’m not supposed to fall in love with someone with a string?”
Matt bites his lip.
“But you are supposed to, aren’t you?” He whispers, almost to himself. “That’s how this works.” Foggy sighs, running a tired hand down his face. So close.
“Okay. Well, then we’ll work on that—“
“But maybe you’re different.” Matt says slowly, cautiously. “Maybe the string part doesn’t matter. You wouldn’t care, would you? If it broke the rules?” Foggy blinks at him.
“Not at all. Love is love.” He says, shrugging with careful casualness. “It sort of breaks the rules, as a rule.” Matt nods, thoughtful.
“Right. So the only issue is if the other person could figure out a way to make it work. If they asked you to try, to give them a chance.” Matt muses. Foggy leans against his desk, considering Matt for a moment. He looks so pensive and earnest, the way he hasn’t since early on in his work. Back when he was sure that every string lead to true romance.
“I guess.” He agrees. “What exactly are you suggesting?”
He knows what he wants Matt to be suggesting, but he’s afraid to get his hopes up. Matt straightens up, takes a deep breath, and says,
“Marci’s not blue.”
“What do you mean, Marci’s not blue?” Foggy asks lowly. This cannot be what it sounds like. Matt wouldn’t lie, not about this. “You just told me she was when we were having dessert. There’s no way it changed in the last hour.” Matt closes his eyes and swallows.
“Marci hasn’t been blue for a long time.” He whispers wretchedly. “She was never blue.”
Foggy shakes his head, horrified.
“No, no. She was blue. You told me she was blue.” Matt shudders, licking his lips.
“Purple. She was purple, and we were in class, and she’d never even talked to you. It wasn’t fair.” He looks towards Foggy desperately. Foggy eyes him warily, glancing again at the pen, paper, pencils, paperclips. Upset, nervous.
“What did you do, Matt?” He asks, low and guarded. Matt looks away, biting his lip. “Matt.”
“I said she should stay away from you. I told her…I told her you were mine.” He admits in a wrecked whisper.
You’re Murdock’s boyfriend, aren’t you?
“Why would you do that?” Foggy asks, keeping his voice even. He’s not sure if he wants to cheer or scream, because he’s not sure why Matt would say that they were together. Was it to make him seem more valuable to Marci—wanting what you can’t have? Or was it…
“Because I knew she could be red if I let her try.” Matt says quietly. He takes a shaky step forward. “And I should have been red instead. I would have been red—orange, yellow, white.”
“White?” Foggy asks, and he takes a step forward too. Yes, yes, yes. “What’s white? You’ve never mentioned white before.” Matt smiles helplessly, and there are tears in his eyes.
“White’s game over. The grand prize of karma bingo. White’s a soulmate.”
He pulls the scarf again, too tight and it must be hurting him. Foggy reaches out and unwraps the cloth gently, starting to tug it away. Matt won’t let go, yanking it back until Foggy tumbles forward and Matt catches him.
“Matt—“ Foggy yelps. Matt presses a hand against the small of his back until Foggy has to move even closer, chest-to-chest.
“I can stay.” He tells Foggy fervently. “It’s my deal. No one would dare try to steal it from me. I'll change the rules, rewrite every one until I can keep you. I'll take care of everything. I can stay with you.”
“Matt, I—“ Matt keeps going, almost babbling at this point.
“And I know I don’t have a string for you to follow, but we could pretend, right? It would be okay. You said it didn’t matter if they loved you, and I love you, I do.” He promises. Foggy thinks his heart might stop for a second, but Matt doesn’t seem to notice. “If I had a string, it would be white. Please, it would be white.”
Foggy decides that actions speak louder than words, and since Matt won’t let him talk he should take advantage of that fact. He yanks Matt down into a kiss.
Matt tastes like cherry lollipops, the ones you get in your first Valentine and remember for the rest of your life.
Matt freezes, and Foggy has a horrible moment where he worries Matt meant platonic soulmates, and then Matt starts moving.
Definitely not platonic soulmates.
“One,” Foggy whispers fiercely when Matt’s kiss-stunned and stupid. “I broke up with Marci. Two, I love you too. Three, I love you too. Four—you get the picture.” He kisses Matt again, a little harder this time.
“Huh. I can see why people kill for this.” Matt mutters when Foggy pulls away. “Is it always that amazing?”
Foggy blinks at him, stunned.
“Wait, are you saying that was your first kiss?” Matt nods, beaming bashfully. “You’re a fucking cupid. How have you not done this before?” Matt shrugs.
“Cupids don’t kiss their clients, and neither do I.”
“Cupids don’t kiss their clients. Now there’s a tongue twister.” Foggy mutters, still a little hazy. He forcibly shakes off his shock. “Okay, cool. That’s cool. Do you—are you okay with this? Or is it not your thing?” If Matt’s never done it before, maybe he doesn’t want to. Which would suck, yeah, but it would be totally worth it if it meant getting Matt.
“Hmm, let me check again.” Matt says slyly, and in a rather impressive move pulls the scarf from Foggy’s fingers, wraps it around his waist and uses it to tug Foggy back in. He hums happily into the kiss before pulling away just enough to grin at Foggy. “Seems okay. But maybe one more test…”
A few minutes later Matt’s got him pinned to the mattress and mostly naked.
“Are you sure you’ve never done this before?” Foggy asks, dazed. Matt shakes his head before going back to licking down Foggy’s chest. “Then where are the crazy sex skills coming from?” Matt smiles up at him, resting his chin on Foggy’s stomach.
“Making love is sort of my thing, remember?” He points out wryly. “And I’m very good at my job.”
“Uh-huh.” Foggy agrees faintly, reaching down to run a hand through his hair. Matt sighs and leans into the touch. “Yeah, you’re amazing. Best cupid I ever had.”
“Cupids are stupid. Boring.” Matt mutters, kissing Foggy’s hip. “Okay, this part I was curious about. I never really saw the point before, but I know people like it a lot. And now I sort of wonder…” He leans down.
Foggy wants to say something witty, or maybe just ‘holy mother of god do that again’, but instead he makes what is probably the most pathetic whimper on the planet. Matt seems to take this as a good sign, because he licks again, long and lingering from base to tip.
“Hey, this is fun.” Matt tells him cheerfully. “You taste good.”
“Ngh.” Foggy replies. Matt takes a deep breath.
“Okay, don’t worry. I got this.” Matt says, and Foggy’s not sure which one of them he’s trying to convince. “Treat it like an ice cream cone. Slow, sweet, make it last.” Foggy wonders for an incredulous second if Matt actually got these tips from Cosmo. “Lick, suck, swallow.”
“No, you don’t have to—“ Foggy starts, and then Matt opens his mouth and Foggy’s pretty sure he’s never seen Matt do that with an ice cream cone. He’d remember.
It takes every bit of willpower Foggy has not to thrust forward and push himself deeper. Matt is apparently a prodigy, the Mozart of blowjobs, but that doesn’t mean he won’t choke if Foggy goes too fast. Instead, Foggy winds his fingers through Matt’s hair and strokes gently, telling him everything that Matt’s doing right and how amazing it feels. Matt’s like a cat, practically purring and arching into the motions when he bobs back up.
Matt does swallow, even though Foggy tries to pull him away gently before he gets the chance. It’s a lot for Matt to try on the first time, but—Mozart. Seriously.
“That’s nice.” Matt sighs, mouth wet and glistening when he smiles. “We should do that again.”
“Yeah.” Foggy agrees breathlessly, already pulling Matt up and kissing his way down. “Right now sounds good.”
Matt’s not quite as good at keeping his hips still, but luckily Foggy’s got a lot more practice. He paces himself with Matt’s rhythm and only needs to push Matt down once or twice when he gets a little too eager.
Every sound Matt makes is sort of surprised, like he can’t quite believe this is happening but he’s very happy it is. Matt begs a lot in between hitching breaths, soft words and praises, which is…sort of amazing. Not something Foggy thought he was into, but—
“Please, please, please. Just a little more. Come on, let me move. Foggy, love, let me move. You’re so good. I knew you’d be good, god, moment I met you. I wanted this so much, nobody but you, always you. I knew you were mine. I knew it. Please let me—Please, please, please.”
Matt says please a lot. Foggy says yes.
When Matt comes, the sound he makes is so desperate it almost sounds painful. It’s just barely this side of a scream, and probably everyone in their dorm heard it. By morning everyone on campus is going to know that they’re sleeping together, and that they are having a very good time doing so. The rumors won’t be rumors anymore.
Foggy can live with that.
“You okay?” He asks, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand and licking his fingers clean. Matt is staring at the ceiling, trembling.
“I don’t know.” He wonders weakly. “I can’t feel my legs. Is that normal?”
Foggy laughs and licks again at where Matt’s soft and sensitive. Matt arches and whines, and Foggy kisses the tip once before slowly making his way back up.
“Nope, that’s just me. No point in testing it out with other people.” He advises wisely. Matt nods, still shaking.
“Never.” He mumbles obediently, and Foggy grins and kisses him, moving so that he can pull Matt into his arms. Matt goes easily, head resting on Foggy’s chest and a drowsy smile on his face. “I love you.”
“Yeah, love you too.” Foggy murmurs, kissing his temple. “Nice shot, cupid.” He taps once at his chest, right over his heart. “Bull’s-eye.”
Matt hesitates, biting his lip. He reaches out and takes Foggy’s hand from where it’s resting, running a delicate finger down the palm—down the heart line.
“You still have strings.” He whispers, voice timid and a little melancholy. Foggy shakes his head, eyes wide.
“Hey, no. Matt, I would never leave you. I’d never pick anyone else.” He promises urgently. He wants to cut every last one of the stupid strings himself, because Matt should never look that sad after saying ‘I love you’.
“I know that.” Matt tells him, and at least he sounds sure of this, if nothing else. “It’s not your fault. People just—people love you, and that won’t change.” His finger runs from Foggy’s palm up through the air in a lazy arc. Foggy wonders if Matt’s touching one of the strings right now. He wonders where that string goes.
“Well, I love you, and that’s what matters.” Foggy says fiercely. Matt smiles at him shakily, fingers sliding back down to Foggy’s palm, touch light as a butterfly’s wing.
“I’m sorry. I wish I had a string to give you.” He murmurs, and no, no. He sounds miserable, guilty. Broken.
Strings. Stupid strings jerking Matt around like a puppet, wrapping around Foggy’s life like a noose—
“Can you sit up for a second?” He asks Matt, and Matt blinks but obeys. He looks worried, and Foggy wonders if he thinks Foggy’s going to leave. Idiot. Foggy rolls over to grab what he’s looking for. “Aha!”
“What?” Matt asks, bewildered and anxious. Foggy leans back over and grabs Matt’s wrist, carefully looping the scarf over it and tying a messy knot. He does the same to his own wrist, binding the two together. Matt tugs hesitantly on the knot, pulling Foggy closer. “Are we doing bondage now?” He asks, brightening a little. “Because I’m totally up for that but we might need some supplies—“
“Kinky. Love it. Later.” Foggy promises gently. “No, you wanted a string, right? Well, there you go. A million strings, all white. With tassels.”
Matt’s eyes go wide.
“White strings.” He whispers, running his free hand tenderly over the soft wool. “I have strings.” His smile is fragile but so, so hopeful. Foggy smiles back.
“Yup. And everyone can see these, so we can show off.” Foggy reminds him. Matt considers, tilting his head to the side. His smile widens, slow and strangely sharp. Not so fragile anymore.
“Yeah. We can get you one too, so we match—no, four. We’ll need four.” Foggy blinks.
“Why would we need four?” He asks, bemused. “I only have one neck.” Matt nods.
“Yeah, but I’ll need four to tie you down with.” He explains cheerfully. He pulls happily on the scarf, this way and that like he's testing how strong it is. “This is great, I can teach you all the fun knots. How do you feel about domination play?” Foggy stares at him, eyes wide.
“How do I—how do you even know what that is? I thought you were a blushing virgin!” Matt shrugs, grinning.
“Technically? Sure. But I have an encyclopedic knowledge of sex acts and a healthy imagination.” He tells Foggy casually. “Helps with matching. And you know how much I like to try new things.” He tugs on the scarf again. “So, domination play? Oh, or we could start with vanilla and work our way up. We'll need lube, lots of lube. Do you think the store is still open?” He looks expectantly up at Foggy and he’s not joking.
“I’ve created a monster.” Foggy whispered, horrified and aroused in equal measure. “You’re not a cupid. You’re a devil.”
“Love you.” Matt hums happily and pulls him into a kiss, and Foggy realizes with a little lurch that Matt isn’t actually denying it.
The pieces click into place.
Matt never called himself a cupid. Foggy called him one, and Matt never told him differently, but he never said ‘I’. Cupids are blind. Cupids don’t have strings. Cupids are stupid.
Want to make a deal?
“Matt, tell me you’re not a devil.” Matt kisses him again. “Matt, seriously. Tell me.”
“Don’t worry.” Matt soothes, stroking his face tenderly. “You won’t regret it, I promise.”
“Regret what?” Foggy squeaks, and Matt shushes him, another soft kiss.
“I’ll make you so happy.” He promises gently. “And it was a good deal, wasn't it? You got someone to love, and someone to love you. I love you, Foggy. You know that, don’t you?”
I’d sell my soul for someone to love.
“Matt, what’s your real name?” Foggy whispers warily. Matt bites softly at his throat, only pulling away when Foggy gasps and bares his neck.
“Asmodeus Amatus.” Matt murmurs, and it’s a chant, a prayer. It sends a shiver down Foggy’s spine. “But I’m Matt for you. I’ll always be Matt.” He licks comfortingly at the sting he’s left on Foggy’s skin.
And Foggy went to nine years of Catholic school. He knows that name. Asmodeus.
“You’re the archdemon of lust?” He asks incredulously, and Matt laughs, light and happy.
“And love, dearest.” Matt adds easily. “Well, sort of. You’re the only one I’ve actually—“ He wiggles his fingers meaningfully, nipping at Foggy’s shoulder. “But I think it worked out pretty well.” He sighs, kissing back up Foggy’s neck. “Thank Satan you have allergies.”
“What?” What the hell do allergies have to do with selling his soul to the devil?
“You sneezed halfway through your contract.” Matt explains, cheerful. “It crossed a few wires, got lost in translation. Lucky me. Karma bingo would have given you a cupid.” He sticks his tongue out impishly. “I’m much more fun.”
I’d sell my soul for someone to l—
Someone to L—ove.
Someone to L—ust.
“The archdemon of lust is a virgin?” Foggy wonders dazedly. “How does that even work?” Matt leans up to kiss his cheek.
“I was waiting for the right person.” Matt sighs contentedly. “I’m a romantic at heart.”
He kisses Foggy’s other cheek, then his nose, and then his forehead. Foggy stares blankly into space for a moment, but when Matt shifts closer with an infuriating amount of elegance, Foggy automatically wraps an arm around his waist. It's Matt, after all. Matt should be as close as possible at all times. Matt the archdemon, apparently.
The archdemon of lust has been giving him dating advice. He’s been wearing polka-dot ties and skipping across campus and feeding Foggy ice cream and telling Foggy how much he adores him for months.
Foggy has been sleeping next to the personification of lust for a year, and he hasn’t gotten laid once. How is that fair?
No. No, he’s been sleeping next to the personification of lust for a year, and he gets Matt. That seems like a pretty good deal.
“So I don’t have a soul anymore?” He asks, not nearly as disturbed as he should be by this fact. It’s hard to be upset when Matt’s kissing him again, warm and sweet. When Matt pulls away, he shakes his head.
“No, you have one. I’m taking an IOU.” He assures him, then pauses thoughtfully. “Although if you wanted to, I guess we could make another deal.” Foggy snorts.
“What, would I have to trade my kidney for another kiss?” Matt proves just how wrong this idea is very enthusiastically for the next five minutes.
“Free kisses, as many as you want.” Matt promises when Foggy’s breathless and begging. “No, I was thinking something a little more unconventional.” He smiles shyly.
“Okay.” Foggy agrees eagerly, not a hint of doubt in his mind. He’ll pretty much do anything Matt wants if he gets to see Matt smile like that. Even if it means trading his kidney. “What are the terms?” Matt licks his lips.
“Me?” Foggy blinks at him. Matt continues, tentative. “I’d give you back your soul back if you promised to stay with me.” When Foggy stares, stunned, Matt adds hurriedly, “I’d give it back anyway. I would never force you to be with me. I just thought that maybe—“
“Really?” Matt asks, eyes wide. “You don’t even want to discuss the details?” Foggy shrugs, running an absent hand down Matt’s back.
“Nah. Seems pretty straightforward. You and me. Good deal.” He considers. “I don’t need to sign my name in blood or anything, do I?” He would if he had too, but he’d really rather not. Matt shakes his head.
“No. I seal my deals with a kiss.” He explains, and apparently Matt is wants to make sure that seal is watertight because Foggy feels dizzy when Matt finally lets him go, lips swollen and a little sore because Matt likes biting. A lot.
“Wait a second.” Foggy mutters when he remembers to think (and breathe), eyes narrowing. “I didn’t have to kiss you the first time.” Matt smiles innocently.
“New rule." He lies without a trace of remorse. "Actually, I now require all my contracts to be submitted in triplicate, so…”
Foggy swallows hard.
“I kind of like this deal.” He admits softly, and Matt laughs, bright and happy.
“Me too. Want to know the best part?” Better than signing in triplicate with the promise of free kisses and an obscene amount of lube? There is no way.
“What’s the best part?” He asks, a little wary. At the rate Matt’s bringing up kinks, he’s not sure if he can survive a ‘best part’. Matt smiles wickedly and twists his hand, pulling the scarf tight between them.
“No strings attached.”