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Guessing Games

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Cover by dapatty


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There’s this shawarma place a couple blocks from the office, just past Eighth Ave. So it’s not technically in their neighborhood, but the lines are blurry enough that it still feels like it belongs to Hell’s Kitchen. It’s a tiny little place that gets a crowded during peak hours, but the food is good and Matt loves the way it smells, thick and strong and real. He likes the way it sounds, the clang of pots and the sizzle of meat. The Arabic from the back room all runs together, indistinguishable to Matt’s untrained ear. But, the tone is nice, affectionate even when frustrated. He, Foggy, and Karen will go there after a long day of work. When their cases are not as interesting or clear as Wilson Fisk. When they have to settle for trying to get the best deal for Marc, who technically did commit the crime, except he was Jake at the time. He deserves better. He should have affordable access to the medication he needs and a family he can rely on, not a prison sentence. The court can’t give him a family though, and the system just isn’t designed for people like Marc. So Matt and Foggy open up their books on precedent and read through the files from the psychiatrist's session and at the end of the day they walk the six blocks to Shawarma Palace, and order lamb rolled with tahini and french fries.

It’s been a tiring day, not hard particularly, but exhausting and conversation doesn’t really want to flow. There is nothing new to say anyways. For the past few days they’ve all been stuck in the office all day and long into the night until they drag themselves home, pass out, and come back to do it all over again. Marc’s case just kind of sucks and there isn’t any easy answer. Matt and Karen have started a sort of a game for these nights, ever since she found out about the Daredevil.

“The group at the farthest table, the one with three people,” Karen says, gesturing towards a small table near the back with two men and a woman at it. She’s started going back to using gestures now that she knows Matt can sort of sense them, but she’ll clarify verbally too.

“You first.”

“Alright, the closest man,” Karen begins. “He’s really attractive, but you can tell that right?”

“I can tell he has symmetrical features, tell me what he looks like.”

“He’s blonde, like a yellowish street light blonde.” Karen bites her lip when she thinks, Matt can hear the squick of her teeth against her dry lip. She should drink more water. “He looks like he spends a lot of time outside, but not like he tans well, he’s not burned or anything, just his skin is that sort of pinkish white that doesn’t really darken much, you know?”

“Like Foggy?”

“Hey, I’ll have you know I tan quite well.” Foggy insists and his heart only speeds up a little.

“Your turn Matt.”

Matt takes a second to hone his senses to the table and man Karen pointed out. When the man shifts the chair creaks under his weight, he gives off heat like a radiator and Matt can tell he’s fit, all that weight is probably muscle. He’s drinking coffee, black and little burnt. It’s probably not his first cup since his heart is beating a little fast. None of this is useful to the game though.

“He smells like chlorine almost, that’s not quite it though it’s a little sharper, a little less chemical, like after a storm.”

“Like ozone?” Foggy asks

“Yeah like that, like he spends a lot of time around electricity.”

“So like we’re going to guess some kind of outdoor electrician?”

“Maybe he’s one of those storm chasers that like studies thunder?” Foggy offers.

“Oh I like that, that’s sexy, he’s definitely one of those.”

Matt turns to the man sitting next to the storm chaser. He’s sick. It must be some kind of heart condition. Matt can hear the steady beat of his heart along with the whirl of machinery. It must be a new treatment, it doesn’t sound like any pacemaker Matt’s heard before. Matt doesn’t share that bit. Foggy would do his disappointed sigh and Matt would be in for a lecture on the medical privacy act. He wouldn’t mind the lecture but he hates that sigh.

“He smells like he has expensive taste, cars that need diesel, champagne, real Cuban cigars, and really really nice scotch.”

“He doesn’t look expensive.” Karen says doubtfully and Matt tries to get a sort of visual idea of him, but everything his senses tell him speaks of money. The fabric of his shirt slide smoothly against his skin, Matt can’t hear loose threads catching on dry skin like with Foggy collection of button downs from Sears. He wears Bvlgari aftershave, real Bvlgari not the knock off brand Matt is used to. Even the scent of motor oil coming off him smells clean and he can’t taste any rust among the tang of metal.

“What does he look like?”

“Honestly, he looks like he works in a chop shop,” Karen says. “He’s in a dirty wife-beater, old grease stains everywhere, he clearly hasn’t shaved today or probably brushed his hair, his hands are filthy, dirt and grease under the nails and everything.”

“International car thief?” Foggy offers.

“What?”

“Like he steals really expensive cars, and sells them for parts and then goes to high society parties so he can scope out his next target or whatever, like the Thomas Crown Affair except with cars instead of Picasso, or whatever he stole.”

“Maybe it’s Tony Stark?” Karen says her slow grin warping the words just a little.

“Yeah, because Tony Stark of Stark Industries eats shawarma in a diner on the south side of 32nd,” Foggy says.

“A girl can make up elaborate fantasies about meeting Tony Stark in a diner on the south side of 32nd and being swept into a world of pretty dresses and tea with Captain America if she wants, ok.”

“I don’t think Captain America is the sort to do tea.” Matt throws in.

“What did I just say? It’s my fantasy and we’re having tea.”

“Ok, ok, you and Captain America can have tea.” Foggy puts his hands up and the table unflexes minutely beneath Matt’s elbow.

“Thank you, Foggy”

“What about the girl?” Foggy asks.

What about the girl indeed. She’s light, Matt can tell that much, her chair barely scratches the linoleum floor when she shifts her weight, but beyond that she is a mystery.

“She’s not very remarkable. It’s actually sort of hard to get a good sense for her, she doesn’t really smell like anything, sort of soapy but even that's very plain soap and she’s just a little cool maybe? She doesn’t stick out. She’s got a nice face, I guess?”

“She’s gorgeous.” Foggy says.

“She really is Matt, her hair is like fire, like the Catskill’s in September. It’s kind of messy like she hasn’t had time to fix it all day, but still it’s beautiful. I think she had make-up on, it’s coming off though, just a little smeared, you know?"

"If you could see her Matt, she’s totally your type.”

“She feels like a ghost to me, she keeps fading out of notice. It’s uncanny, I mean I can tell the first guy was near a horse sometime in past few days, but all I get from her is human and the smell of the city.”

“Maybe she is a ghost, or a super ninja!”

“Alright, so what is a storm chaser, a high end car thief, and a super ninja doing eating shawarma together in New York?” Matt directs his question to Foggy.

“So, obviously, the super ninja and the car thief are working together to break into someone’s place and steal stuff. The super ninja is supposed to assassinate him but she needs help distracting the security which is why she hired the car thief to steal the guy's authentic James Dean death car. And the storm chaser is there because...um...the guy stole his important weather-related research and he wants it back, and so he tried to break into the house while they were like scoping it out and nearly blew everyone’s cover so now they’re stuck with him. And they are all taking a well deserved break from heist planning by enjoying some excellent authentic middle eastern cuisine.”

“Wow, I’m impressed Foggy, I think that is your best one yet,” Karen laughs.

“Thank you, I couldn’t have done it without you two creeping on strangers.”

The group at the far table gets up, the handsome blonde first, saying something about a girl named Jane, and the other two nod at each other and the man heads out. The woman walks to the counter and Matt loses track of her until she’s appears again right behind Foggy. He heart jumps when she lays a hand on his shoulder.

“That wasn’t half bad guys, but you did get one thing wrong, Captain America loves tea.”