Matt assumed that if there was trouble to be found from helping the Avengers with the (apparently) only sometimes-visible giant space worms that started ravaging Hell's Kitchen, it would've come from the Daredevil side of things. Which was why he jumped into the fight; it wasn't hard, particularly, because the worms - slugs? - moved slowly and didn't have a lot of teeth; the biggest problem was the caustic slime that they sprayed in front of them. It took a couple hours of hard work, but the worst thing that happened was he got burned - not badly - on one bare hand, and bruised from accidentally colliding with Iron Man. (Which was when they realized that the worms were only visible sometimes: Iron Man hadn't seen it, apparently, but there was no mistaking the smell.)
No, it was in the aftermath that it became clear just how screwed he actually was, and what a bad idea it had been.
"Nice job, Murdock," Tony Stark - in the Iron Man suit, which hurt Matt's ears in a new and weird way - said. That was enough to send his stomach swooping down to his toes, what the fuck, how could Tony Stark possibly know or care who he was, under the mask?
"Who?" he asked. "Uh."
"Stark, don't be an asshole," Captain America said. "Seriously, though, that was good work, Mr - Daredevil, it would've taken twice as long without your help."
"How am I an asshole," Stark started, "like, yeah, hate to tell you, but that mask exposes three or four points that facial recognition software uses, did you not know this?"
"Tony, don't stalk people," a man said, sounding tired but not particularly upset.
"I'm not Murdock, I don't know who that is," Matt said. He'd had control of the situation when it involved giant space worms, why was it so - how had he lost control here?
"Whoa whoa whoa," Stark said, "haha Bruce, my friend, I am not the bad guy this time, it's facial recognition, sure, but if you think Hill hadn't already started a file on this guy you are out of your damn mind, you know how creepy SHIELD is."
"You have a file on me? you - the organization full of nazis has a file on - I have to go," Matt said. There was no way this would end well.
"No no," Stark said, cheerful, like this was a minor misunderstanding and not a serious fucking disaster, "no, it's fine, everyone has one, look, come back to the Tower, get that leg looked at, we're gonna eat burritos, you can bring your - partner, buddy, whoever, we don't judge, SI is a very twenty-first century kind of company. Socially."
"We're hunting down HYDRA," Captain America said. "Good people are risking their lives to hunt down HYDRA agents." He sounded offended: Matt did not give a fuck.
"No," Matt said, horrified, "do not follow me."
The trouble with Tony Stark didn't really start until two weeks later, when Matt had to spent two days at home because he'd started puking blood.
("What do you mean blood," Foggy had said, horrified, and "Home is a funny way to say hospital," Karen had said, suspiciously, so Matt had patched Nurse Claire into the call and she'd assured them that it was bacterial, not trauma-related, and she'd given Matt antibiotics, and the important thing was that he rested and drank a lot of Pedialite, but he didn't need to be in a hospital to do that.)
Still. Foggy and Karen were working double-time on a civil suit, which is why they were the only ones in the office when the radio people came to announce that Matt Murdock had won the Channel 0087 STARK Sirius radio "Redecorate Your Office" drawing.
"Uh," Karen told the delivery woman, who was wearing a red miniskirt and a gold sportsbra and half a red schoolgirl's blouse, along with sensible no-slip work shoes and a bored expression. The outfit showed off her rock-hard abs and biceps. "He's not here?"
"It's not the kind of thing he...does," Foggy said, staring at the delivery woman. "Wait, is that a Dotspot?"
"Yup," she said. "Look, I'm not in charge, I'm just here to drop off the stuff, you gotta sign for it, I'm running late already."
"A thousand dollar drawing," Foggy said.
"I guess?" the delivery woman said.
"I - okay," he said, faintly. "He's not here, I'm his partner, can I -"
"Are you Nelson or Murdock?" she said. She sounded impatient instead of bored, now.
It actually took three delivery people to move the printer into the office and get it installed; they offered to hook it up to the wireless. Karen would've said yes, but she caught the way Foggy shook his head, sudden and adamant, and said that she could handle it.
"I can't actually handle it," Karen told Foggy, immediately. They'd gathered in the lobby, where the Dotspot loomed. It was red. It was shiny. The old printer had looked evil, sure, and slightly-to-moderately haunted, but this one looked like it might be planning world domination. "There is no way, I'm afraid of this thing."
"Yeah," Foggy agreed. "I didn't want to - Karen, do you know how much one of those things runs?"
She wrinkled her nose, examining him. "A...thousand dollars? Shit, it's more than a thousand dollars?"
He grinned; he looked a little freaked out. "Try like six thousand," he said. "This is weird, and shady, and Matt doesn't enter bizarre radio contests, because he - I mean, it's possible that he has a third secret life he hasn't told us about -"
Karen kicked his shin, very gently. "Quit that," she said, and then bumped him with her shoulder to show that she wasn't angry. "So where did it..."
They considered the Dotspot for another few minutes.
"Six thousand dollars," Karen said. "Shit."
"Yeah," Foggy said.
"Do you think it's a bomb?"
"No!" Foggy said, immediately, and then looked at her. He tugged at his hair. The thing looked even more ridiculous in their shabby office with the duct tape over the cracked corner in the window. "I mean." He groaned. "That would be paranoid and silly," he said. "Seeing bombs in. In weird expensive gifts that arrive out of nowhere. That's just."
"Could we tell if it was a bomb?" Karen asked.
Foggy sighed. "We could keep working at my place," he said, finally. "For today. Maybe tomorrow. Claire said Matt would be better in a couple of days."
"He'll be pissed if he knows he's our bomb-sniffing dog," Karen said, but she'd already started smiling again.
Matt, when he got back to the office, a) confirmed that the printer was merely a seven-thousand-dollar piece of equipment that was better than anything any of them had ever seen, much less owned, before, and b) threw an impressive but quiet shitfit about Tony Stark and how much he hated Tony Stark, in particular.
"You shouldn't have accepted it," he said, finally. "We need to send it back."
"Whoah," Foggy said.
"Yeah, whoah," Karen said. "Why? Why do we need to - this is really nice, Matt, why not just - "
"Because I don't want to owe Tony Stark jack shit," Matt said. He'd gone bright red at first, but now he simply looked tired, and hurt: it was the face that Foggy and Karen had the least defenses against. But still:
"So don't owe him shit," Karen said, fast and easy, getting up in Matt's space to make her point. "So take his six thousand dollar printer and the next time you see Iron Man you tell him from me that I know a girl who knows a White House reporter who knows that he has to take Viagra to get it up, okay?"
"Wait, really?" Foggy asked.
"I trust her," Karen said. "Bump it, Murdock." She held out her fist, with the narrow, bony fingers and the thin wrist. Matt stood still for a second, clearly struggling, and then sighed, and carefully reached out to tap his knuckles against hers.
The next overture was less subtle, if that was possible, than the printer. Matt was in the office a week later, when the delivery man (wearing skin-tight red pants and an irritated expression, this time) showed up to announce that -
"Oh, what did we win this time?" Karen asked. A little maliciously. Shit. It wasn't right to be unkind to delivery people; she made a note to tip this one extra.
"You didn't "win" anything," he said, sounding even more irritated than he looked. "Is Matthew Murdock here?"
Matt groped his way out of his office, looking about as helpless and friendly as an eight-week-old labrador puppy: it still unsettled Karen, thinking about the differences between him and the man in the mask. "Hi," he said.
"Mr. Murdock," the guy said. "I'm an intern with SI's DNC - that's the Digital Nature Cooperative - and I'm here because you've been preselected to be part of the beta group for our new line of touchscreen tablets." He held the box up with a flourish: it was a deep, rich gold with understated maroon highlights. Nearly sophisticated, for SI.
"Touch...tablets," Matt said, managing to convey in two careful, polite words, his entire feelings about the relative intelligence of a) the intern, b) SI in general, and c) this particular venture.
"Yes!" the intern said. "I'm Joey, by the way. I know what you're thinking - but no, man, this is - it's three-dimensional. It's interactive! You can actually feel this, it's a touchscreen that reacts within microseconds and has a tactile display. It's the next big thing. Nobody gets into these beta tests, you do not want to miss out -"
"Wait, what?" Matt said. He looked intrigued despite himself, and also like he was going to refuse the thing on principle.
"Let me show you," Joey said. He was practically vibrating with excitement.
"I'm a sellout," Matt told Foggy, mournfully. "This is - this is bejeweled, kind of, it is so much fun."
"You poor baby," Foggy said. He and Karen had exchanged not-so-secret high-fives, after Joey had given Matt a full demonstration and Matt had, in a daze, agreed to accept a free tablet and provide one-time feedback on the accessibility features.
"Shut up," Matt said. He tilted the tablet closer to his face, running his fingers along the edge to find the speakers: "and shut up, Stark," he said, speaking directly into the tablet.
Pepper didn't realize that Tony'd been running one of his campaigns to befriend someone through shock and intimidation until he ran the new tactile touchscreens by her. That's when the worrying story regarding the new vigilante - Daredevil, Matthew Murdock, whoever - came out, and she bit back her first three or four responses.
"It's a niche market," she said, which was honest enough: the percentage of the population that required assistive technology wasn't large enough to really explain the time Tony'd put into this.
"Blah blah," Tony said, looking tired and anxious, the way he did when he thought someone was offended because he hadn't spent enough money on them to be considered a friend yet. "We can tweak the code and turn it into a novelty; everyone's gonna be into holograms they can feel with their fingers and not just see with their eyes. It just. Y'know."
"Probably," she said, and made a note to try to explain Tony to this Matthew Murdock before he got completely overwhelmed.
She wasn't impressed by the operation until the first time she came down to the office to talk to Nelson & Murdock herself, to try to explain the...total lack of boundaries all the Avengers had? (She loved Phil, she did, but his invasive lack of privacy had continued to normalize the constant invasions of privacy the rest of them all engaged in, it was fine until a new person came along, they meant well, it wasn't an aggressive invasion of privacy, this was just the way they...showed their concern.)
So she walked up to the office, and when the secretary - Karen Page - saw her, her eyes got very big. She managed a professional smile. "Ms. Virginia Potts," she said, in a clear, distinct voice. "How nice to see Ms. Virginia Potts in this neighborhood, today, in our office!"
Mr. Nelson jumped up to greet her in the lobby, and they exchangde a really, really obvious look of panic. "Yeah, who would've thought Virginia Potts would be here? Matt will be pleased to see you," Mr. Nelson said.
Neither of them were shouting; they weren't even raising their voices. They were just speaking distinctly, and clearly, and - she sighed.
"He's running away right now, isn't he?"
"He went to the men's right before you showed up," Mr. Nelson said, and he had the grace to look a little uncomfortable. "By now he's probably on the roof, though."
"Of course," she said. "I don't mean to intrude."
"It's just." Ms. Page made a face, gestured to the printer, and the tablet, and - what looked like brand new chairs and desks and office equipment too, of course, Tony. "It's a little. We're - can you just tell us if the printer is recording everything we say?" she asked. She was smiling, like it was a joke, but there was something in her eyes that probably meant she was serious.
"It isn't," Pepper assured her, thinking I will make Tony disable the recording equipment in that printer before I see him again.