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Eres Mi Grande Avocado

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“Wish me luck.”

 

Foggy sighs, stooping down to grab his bag and sling it over his shoulder. He’s hoping to break his back somehow while bending down so he can skip the exam. Alas, Foggy’s vertebrae are far stronger than Foggy’s mnemonic devices.

 

He’s going to fail this thing.

 

”Buena suerte.” Matt mumbles, voice muffled.

 

Foggy blinks and glances back at his roommate, who is facedown in his pillows and waving a hand lazily in his direction. Matt is not a morning person—total night owl, probably beats up early birds before dawn and then steals their nests to nap in.

 

“Was that Spanish?” He asks. Matt hums in agreement. “Dude, that is so cool.”

 

There is a brief pause, and then Matt slowly turns just enough that Foggy can see his face, sleep soft and relaxed.

 

“You’re easily impressed.” He teases, only half-awake at best. Foggy shakes his head.

 

“No, it sounded really cool. Say something else.” Matt sighs, pulling the blankets further up over his chin.

 

”Tu aerodeslizador está lleno de anguilas.” Matt mutters. It’s such a long phrase, but so perfectly uttered. It rolls right off Matt’s tongue, only a little rough from sleep. Foggy beams.

 

“Oh, man.” He enthuses. “What was that? What did you say?” One corner of Matt’s mouth quirks into a smirk.

 

“Your hovercraft is full of eels.” Matt tells him matter-of-factly. Foggy laughs, startled.

 

“The Dirty Hungarian Phrasebook. You just Monty Python-ed me! Matt, that is awesome.” He breathes, genuinely impressed. “And you can just do that when you’re half-asleep?” Matt hums in agreement. “I can’t even speak English when I’m half-asleep.” He mutters, put out by this stark difference in eloquence. 

 

“I know.” Matt agrees, annoyingly smug. “It’s encantador.”

 

Encantador.” Foggy repeats slowly. “It sounds like a spell from Harry Potter. What does it mean?” Matt opens his eyes at this, grinning.

 

“I’m not telling.” He says, amused. Foggy waits expectantly, but Matt just shakes his head, rubbing it into the pillow. “Guess.”

 

“No, come on.” Foggy groans. “I’m horrible at Spanish. I had to switch to Punjabi because it was easier for me. Punjabi, Matt.” Matt snorts, eyes closing again.

 

“I thought you switched to Punjabi because you wanted to ‘study’ something other than a textbook.” He points out with sleepy wryness. Foggy smirks.

 

“The cram sessions were legendary.” He confides. “But my point is, I can’t do Spanish. So you should translate.” Matt says nothing. “Matt. Translate.” Matt ignores him. “Matt. Matty. Matty Patty Cake.”

 

“Charming.” Matt finally groans, desperate and defeated. “It means ‘charming’. Which you are not anymore. Don’t call me Matty Patty Cake.”

 

Foggy swallows, and he knows he’s blushing. Thank goodness Matt can’t see. Charming. Matt thinks—thought—Foggy was charming. That’s…

 

Gracias.” Foggy says hesitantly. “That’s a thing, right? Gracias, el amigo?” Matt looks grumpy for another second or two, but his lips are twitching. Finally he smiles and opens his eyes once more, and it’s fond.

 

“Mi.” He offers kindly. “Mi amigo.” Foggy beams.

 

“Got it. Double gracias, Matt.” Matt’s fond smile widens to a grin.

 

De nada, Foggy.” He replies, and that has to mean ‘you’re welcome’. Probably. Foggy thinks he heard that somewhere before he suppressed his traumatic experiences in Spanish class. “You need to get to class, don’t you?”

 

Foggy yelps, glancing down at his watch.

 

“Damn it.” He curses, sprinting for the door. “Uh, adios?” He tries, and Matt laughs.

 

Adios, amigo.”

 

Foggy finds himself in a very good mood for the exam, still happy from his strange morning conversation with Matt. Maybe that’s why he does so well—he’s in the zone. He finishes early, and he gets to leave with the smart people crowd, the ones who are usually done when Foggy’s less than halfway through.

 

There’s a cute girl in the smart people crowd that Foggy’s never had a chance to talk to. She’s quiet, keeps to herself and leaves as soon as she’s done, but Foggy left early this time and he takes the plunge.

 

“Hi. You’re really smart, huh? That’s cool.” He tries smoothly. He wants to slap himself a moment after. This is why he doesn’t talk to girls. He just smiles awkwardly and hopes they eventually ask him out, either from pity or from a strange attraction to awkward smilers.

 

The girl blinks at him, and then she smiles back, not awkwardly at all.

 

“Thank you.” She says quietly, and she seems amused but not unkindly so. “You sit behind me, don’t you?” Foggy nods eagerly.

 

“I do.” He agrees. She noticed! To notice someone behind you, you have to turn around on purpose. Maybe she was looking. Or passing back a study paper, yes, but she might have been scoping him out while she was doing that. “Um, would you maybe want to get some coffee? At some point? Because we’re in the same class, you know. We could compare notes or maybe just talk, although I’ll clearly need talking lessons before then because I’m horrible at this.”

 

He’s babbling by the end, but the girl doesn’t seem to mind. She nods, still smiling, and holds out her hand.

 

“We could go now? I’m Maria.” Foggy grins in way he knows is too goofy, and shakes her hand. He actually did it. It was the awkward smiling, he’s sure of it. Maybe girls really do like awkward smilers. 

 

“Foggy.” He replies, and he tries to keep the awkward smiling down to a minimum because as attractive as it apparently is, too much is probably overkill. “And now is good. Very good.”

 

It goes pretty well, and Foggy’s on cloud nine when he finally gets back to the dorm. Matt is doing research for some soul-crushing paper or another, although he glances up when Foggy enters.

 

“Did you have a nice date?” He asks mildly. Foggy doesn’t even get freaked out by Matt’s creepy omniscient powers anymore. He always knows when Foggy’s getting some, even if it’s just Foggy getting some coffee with a cute girl.

 

“I did.” Foggy sighs happily, settling in next to Matt on his bed. Matt smiles absently and pats his knee while he reads. “Actually, I need your help.”

 

“With what, exactly?” Matt wonders. “You always say that I’m a horrible wingman." Foggy pokes him gently in accusation.

 

“That’s because you are. You steal all the girls.” He points out candidly. Matt shrugs. And Foggy knows Matt doesn’t do it on purpose—he’s just a chick magnet—but Foggy needs to plan around stuff like that. “No, I need lessons. Maria’s from Spain, and she’s got this cute accent and I thought it would be nice if I could flirt with her in Spanish.”

 

Matt fingers pause on the page. He doesn’t look up.

 

“So you want me to teach you how to seduce someone using foreign pick up lines?” He checks, exasperated. Foggy nods and makes a sound of happy agreement. “Why do you assume I know that sort of thing? It hardly came up in class.” Foggy clears his throat, because Matt is a shameless flirt and they both know it. Matt sighs. “Fair enough. I only know a little though. It’s not very impressive.”

 

Foggy grins, resisting the urge to stand up and cheer. He bumps their shoulders together instead.

 

“That’s okay. All I know is ‘gracias’, ‘adios’, and ‘hola’. Pretty much anything is an improvement on that. Come on, Matt. Make me your padawan.” He considers. “Is there a Spanish word for padawan? Do girls automatically consider Star Wars references sexier when spoken in Spanish?”

 

“No, Foggy. They really don’t.” Matt informs him wryly. He taps his fingers on his book, and then marks his place and sets it aside. “I need a break anyway, I suppose. Alright. What do you want to say?”

 

“Anything.” Foggy admits. Matt opens his mouth. “And no smart-alecky answers about saying the word ‘anything’ in Spanish.” Matt looks quite put out about having his fun cut short, and Foggy takes disproportionate pride in it because Matt frequently ruins Foggy’s enormously witty jokes by guessing the punch line early and then laughing at Foggy instead of with him. This is payback. “Come on. How about…’I like you’?”

 

Matt hums, considering.

 

Me gustas.” He translates. “But you don’t need to throw that at her so soon. Just start with the little things you already know. Hello, goodbye, thank you—they make a difference. Ease yourself in.” Foggy nods.

 

“Okay, I can do that. I can do this.” He laughs. “Man, I’ll give you this. Spanish does sound a little more mainstream sexy than Punjabi—at least to the untrained ear. Punjabi is for the people who truly appreciate the richness of the human voice.” Foggy has a fierce loyalty to his under-appreciated language of choice. “But mainstream sexy stuff should be useful.”

 

“Mm. I’m sure Punjabi is an aphrodisiac of the highest order.” Matt agrees, indulgent but still borderline derisive. It's a balance only Matt can strike without Foggy wanting to sock him out. “Would you like to get some coffee? I could use a pick-me-up after all this studying.”

 

Foggy hesitates. He just had coffee. He really shouldn’t be stacking caffeine like this. Still, all he had with Maria was an espresso because he was trying to look sophisticated. It wasn’t the most filling drink, and it’s Matt who’s asking him. Foggy wants to do pretty much everything with Matt, and coffee with Matt is particularly fun. They get ridiculously unhealthy drinks with weird syrup combinations and whipped cream and sprinkles, and they swap them back and forth even though they complain about cooties the whole time. Plus, Matt hopped up on caffeine and sugar is comedy gold.

 

“Only if you teach me coffee shop lingo.” Foggy haggles, and Matt chuckles and stands, offering a hand to Foggy to help him up even though both of them know he doesn’t need to.

 

“Let’s go get some café.”


Things don’t work out with Maria.

 

It’s nothing catastrophic. It’s mutual, really. Maria appreciates the Spanish flirting, but despite it they don’t have much in common and they part as friends. She still waves to him in the hallway, and Foggy’s happy with that.

 

It’s probably for the best anyway. Foggy’s so bad at Spanish that even Matt despairs, and he’s the most patient guy Foggy knows. The look of sheer relief on his face when Foggy breaks the news that he doesn’t need more flirting lessons is both amusing and vaguely insulting.

 

The thing is though, Matt doesn’t stop speaking Spanish.

 

He just slips it in at weird times, usually when he’s muttering something under his breath and Foggy just knows it’s something about him. Matt usually starts speaking Spanish when Foggy’s teasing him or poking him or napping on Matt’s unfairly comfy bed or borrowing his clothes or generally being a pest, so Foggy’s guessing the words are not so nice—not cruel, but things like ‘idiot’ and ‘brat’ and ‘of all the dorm rooms in all the universities in all the world, you had to walk into mine’.

 

Foggy tries getting Matt to tell him what he’s saying, but Matt flat out refuses. He gets some sort of vindictive pleasure of it, Foggy thinks. When Foggy’s annoying him, he likes to annoy Foggy back by speaking words Foggy can’t follow at all. Foggy’s tried to look up the phrases, but he can never get the sounds right and his mind is like a sieve when it comes to Spanish. Since Matt smirks and won’t repeat what he said, Foggy’s stuck guessing.

 

Judging by the periodic widening of Matt’s smirk when Foggy offers a possible translation, Foggy’s not such a great guesser.

 

Foggy does get ‘amigo’ a lot from Matt though, which is nice. He also gets ‘encantador’ when Matt’s feeling particularly fond, and it’s usually the only word Foggy understands in the sentence but it still gives him a warm glow inside, especially when Matt flashes him a soft smile while saying it.

 

So Foggy can’t understand it, but he can usually get the basic idea from the tone. There’s the under-the-breath muttering when he’s ticked off, of course. The warmer sentiments are said in a gentle tone with that gentle smile, and about 80% of the time they’re uttered when Matt and Foggy are alone in their room and Matt’s glasses are off. This means Foggy also gets a sideways glance in his direction that’s sly and yet somehow shy, and it makes Foggy’s breath catch. Finally, there are the friendly phrases that Matt tosses out in a casual, easy tone, usually involving 'amigo' or 'gracias'.

 

And Matt's got this way of speaking in Spanish that's just a little different than his way of speaking in English. In English, all of Matt's words are carefully weighed and measured and cut like crystal. They're precious but planned. With Spanish, the words seem to fall like drops of liquid gold, hot and rich and wild, and it makes Foggy want to gather them to himself and finally be warm. He does feel warmer, uncomfortably so, even when Matt's scolding him. Spanish Matt is something...new. Something darker, richer, less reined-in, and it's...

 

“Estoy orgulloso de ti.”

 

Foggy grins under the weight of Matt’s arm around his shoulders. Matt gets so very incredibly cuddly when he’s drunk, but it’s rarer for him to be like this when he’s sober. Mostly they stick to fist bumps and shoulder bumps and hip check bumps and apparently bumps of all shapes and sizes, come to think of it. A few bro hugs and full hugs sneak their way in, but usually Foggy lets Matt choose when to do those. He knows Matt can get a little overloaded by the world, and Foggy’s not going to make that worse by stealth-snuggling him.

 

Today is graduation day though, and Matt’s drunk in a different way. He’s drunk on victory. So is Foggy, which is why he slings an arm around Matt’s shoulders too and they sort of shamble towards a bar to get really, truly drunk on alcohol.

 

“Ditto.” Foggy says happily, and then scrunches his nose, hesitating. “No, wait. I got this. Siento lo mismo.” He pronounces each syllable carefully. It’s the only phrase he actually knows, other than adios, hola, gracias, de nada, and me gustas. Matt tells him that it means ‘I feel the same way’. Matt tried teaching Foggy about another ‘me too’ involving tambourines or something, but Foggy gave up ages ago on that one.

 

‘Siento lo mismo’ seems to be a safe answer, and it usually makes Matt smile. That either means Foggy’s using it wrong and Matt thinks it’s encantador, or Matt’s happy he’s making the effort and it’s still encantador. So, it’s a safe bet.

 

Bien.” Matt praises, squeezing his shoulders and he purrs the word right into Foggy's ear like it's some sort of hot secret when it's just 'good'. It’s a little awkward walking this way, hobbling along like it’s a three-legged race, but Foggy’s certainly not going to complain about the extra contact with a purring Murdock. Three-legged races were one of the only activities at field day he was actually good at. Foggy’s not so great at sports alone, but get him with a partner and he’s a beast. “Now, who buys the first round?”

 

“Normally I’d say rock-paper-scissors, but I cheat.” Foggy admits without an ounce of guilt. Matt always knows when he’s cheating anyway, so there’s not any ill will behind it. “I’ll buy. I’ve got to reward my summa cum laude buddy here.”

 

Matt beams at him, already a little flushed despite not having a single sip of beer yet. Definitely drunk on victory, Foggy decides with a pang of affection.

 

“Ah, and there’s the reason I studied so hard. Free alcohol, not academic honors.” Matt claims shrewdly, and Foggy laughs and tugs him along faster. He likes this method of leading Matt best, all of this body contact instead of just that single warm point on his arm, but he fully realizes it’s not sustainable long-term. He also has a weakness for that one warm point anyway. It feels bright, like a star for him to follow, and then Matt follows him so Foggy is Matt’s star.

 

Maybe Foggy’s a little drunk on victory too. That was incredibly maudlin.

 

“Aha! I knew it. If only the professors knew the true motives of their beloved golden boy.” Foggy mourns, and Matt grins and shrugs, his shoulders rolling in the motion under Foggy’s arm.

 

“Face of an angel...” He offers lightly.

 

“…And the heart of a devil. I know.” Foggy agrees. “Well, you have some rare time to stop impressing people before we start at our shiny new internships, so cut loose. Go crazy. Get completely smashed.”

 

“I plan to, corazón.” Matt promises with a hint of glee in his voice, and Foggy thinks he’s about to get conned into paying for a lot more than one round of drinks. That’s fine. Getting to see Matt relax and enjoy life is worth it. The guy works himself into the ground. Besides, Matt called him 'corazón', which Foggy would bet good money means 'buddy' in some which way. The fact that Matt purred that part too makes what was clearly a platonic endearment feel embarrassingly less platonic, but Foggy's grateful for what he can get. 

 

Foggy draws ‘Nelson and Murdock’ on a napkin while they're waiting for their beers, like he does pretty much every time he has access to a napkin or any other sort of writing surface and utensil. He feels a bit like a teen girl writing her crush’s name in her notebook, but he doesn’t call himself Mr. Foggy Murdock, so he thinks he’s okay.

 

Having a tiny crush and wanting a future together is not the same as Matt+Foggy=OTP 4EVER. It’s not. Matt's arm is heavy around his shoulders, and Foggy thinks about twenty minutes ago would have been the socially acceptable time to let go. Most dudes don't cuddle their buddies on barstools. Well, screw most dudes. Foggy's getting his beer and he's getting his cuddles and he's getting his Nelson and Murdock, and nothing is going to stand in the way of that. Not even social acceptability. 

 

They do get drunk, and eventually decide to opt for a hotel a few buildings down because they sort of forgot their own addresses. Foggy almost gives the dorm address, but then he remembers that he’s bought a shabby new apartment instead. Housing probably isn’t going to give him back his key just so Foggy can sleep off a night of heavy drinking in his old room.

 

It’s just that his new place isn’t home yet, and he’s still getting used to having a new address. Matt seems to feel the same. Foggy’s pretty sure he didn’t even get the street name right. A hotel sounds good, and they’re low on cash and also spent the last three years sleeping in the same room, so they opt for a single room.

 

They get a single bed. It’s a reasonably sized bed, Foggy supposes, and the receptionist had told him quite solemnly that it was very sturdy and the walls were quite thick, so the bed’s probably going to be good for bouncing when the world’s not spinning so much and Foggy can continue singing show tunes in a drunken slur until he falls asleep without waking the neighbors.

 

Not much point in arguing about who gets the bed like those infamous 'most dudes' do. Some men get weird about sharing a bed, even a big one, which is just stupid. It’s not like you automatically turn gay if you end up spooning your friend in the middle of the night. Matt seems to agree, because he topples over on the mattress in a second. Foggy patiently tugs Matt’s shoes off for him and also slips off his own, and then flops down on the bed too. He closes his eyes firmly and readies himself for a total blackout.

 

It doesn’t come.

 

“I’m not even that drunk.” Matt tells him later, because neither one of them can quite sleep and Foggy’s given up waiting for that blackout. “I think I feel drunker because I’m so happy. I want an excuse to act silly and not worry about the consequences.”

 

Foggy understands the feeling. Just judging by the amount of beer he downed, he’s not nearly as drunk as he feels either. He just needed a flimsy excuse to belt out show tunes.

 

He also remembered his address about two minutes after they left the bar, way before they started booking their room for the night. He just forgot to tell Matt, because he’s not that sober, you know? He’s forgetful.

 

(He wants to sleep with Matt for another night. Just one.)

 

“Intoxication without the hangover.” He agrees sagely. “Very good idea. Want to share dark secrets and then pretend it never happened?”

 

Matt rolls towards him, smile pensive.

 

“I really do.” He agrees quietly. “Do you want me to take care of the first round this time? You bought the drinks.”

 

It’s a big gesture coming from the secretive Matt Murdock. Foggy nods and scoots a little closer on the bed, feeling giddy and childish and sort of like he’s having a sleepover. He wants a flashlight and a blanket fort too, suddenly and fiercely, but he’ll settle for this. He’s got all the important parts—the rest is just frills.

 

“Go for it. Anything you want—we won’t remember this, remember?” He encourages.

 

Tell me the things you’ll never tell me otherwise, because you know I’ll try to talk to you about them later and you hate talking about anything that makes you feel weak. At least not in English. That’s what Foggy doesn’t say, but Matt seems to understand. He takes a deep breath.

 

“Sometimes I’m scared that my father died because he was trying to be a hero for me.”

 

That’s a pretty solid first round. Foggy promises to match it.

 

At some point towards the middle they end up holding hands, and Foggy does end up pulling the blankets over their head so it’s kind of a blanket fort. It’s like a shield to hide this away from the rest of the world. The world’s not going to remember this in the morning either. It’s not going to gossip.

 

“I love my adoptive mom, but sometimes I wonder why my biological mother gave me away.” Foggy admits in a whisper.

 

“I think my mother left us because she didn’t want to be a mother.” Matt offers hesitantly. It’s both a secret and an explanation. Some people just aren’t meant to be parents.

 

“I wish I’d met your father.” That’s one Foggy’s thought a lot but never said. What few stories Matt’s shared about him make Foggy think Jack Murdock was an incredible man, but Matt gets quiet and sad when he talks about it so Foggy doesn’t push the subject.

 

“He’d have liked you.” Matt muses. “Sometimes when I’m with you at your parents’ house, I imagine what it would be like if he was there too. Family dinners with both of our families. Holidays.”

 

That would be pretty amazing, Foggy thinks. Nelson-Murdock family holiday extravaganzas. Plenty of dorky sweaters to go around.

 

“You are my family.” Foggy tells him simply, and then he hesitates. Another thing he’s wanted to say for years, but been far too terrified to. Matt’s basically promised that there will be no hard feelings in the morning though, and Foggy really wants it. “I want to go with you when you visit your father.”

 

Matt goes very still. His hand twitches in Foggy’s.

 

Matt buys flowers sometimes and disappears for most of the day, a few seemingly random times during the year and then once more, always on the same day. Foggy’s not sure if it’s Jack Murdock’s birthday or the anniversary of the day he died or some other day that only Matt understands, but he always disappears that day and Foggy knows where he goes.

 

He goes to the graveyard.

 

“I…” Matt’s voice is indecipherable, and Foggy thinks he’s probably just made a mistake. It’s just that Matt always looks so tired and sad when he comes back, and Foggy wants to be there for him. He also wants a moment to thank Jack for being a good father and for giving Foggy a friend like Matt. “I’m going to remember that secret in the morning.” Matt warns Foggy quietly. “And I want you to remember that I said yes.”

 

Foggy closes his eyes for a moment, hiding a sigh of relief. He opens his eyes and hums in agreement.

 

“Got it.” He gives an earnest nod to punctuate the statement. “Any other secrets that I should actually remember?” Matt’s glasses are off, so Foggy sees the look in his eyes while he thinks. Contemplative. Uncertain. Worried.

 

Determined.

 

“There’s a reason I always know that you cheat at rock-paper-scissors.” Matt starts, and the wavering in his voice makes Foggy think there’s more to this than just Matt knowing that Foggy’s sneaky. “It’s a little…complicated.”

 

“Hey, we’ve got time and I’m not dumb, even if I didn’t get summa cum laude.” Foggy reminds him kindly. “Try me.”

 

Matt seems kind of leery of the whole thing, like he’s afraid Foggy going to flip him off and try to kick his ass for even saying the secret out loud, but he says it anyway.

“…And I don’t try to do it. I’m not trying to abuse your trust. I just can’t control it. It’s like how I can’t stop my own heart from beating. I can’t stop hearing yours.” Matt finishes, and he’s a little out of breath. He just sort of got it all out in one go, and Foggy’s reluctantly impressed at his breath control, lasting that long without pausing.

 

He wonders if that’s a superpower too.

 

“Okay.” Foggy’s voice comes out shaky, so he clears his throat and tries again. “Okay. I’m glad you said I could remember that one because it would be kind of hard to forget.” Matt smiles, but it seems more like a wincing grimace. He’s still waiting for the freak-out. Foggy nods slowly. “It’s not the weirdest thing I’ve heard tonight, although it will be the weirdest one I ‘remember’.” Foggy offers finally. “I can deal with that.”

 

“Really?” Matt seems quite stunned, and it’s satisfying to be able to nod again and mean it.

 

“It’ll take some getting used to on my part.” He allows. “But I’ll just have to…never lie to you ever again.” He laughs a bit incredulously at the monumental task. Everyone lies. “I don’t lie to you much anyway.”

 

“I know.” Matt’s voice is steeped in gratitude. “Thank you for that. And obviously I won’t call you out on the little things, like what you really did when you said you were going to the gym.”

 

Foggy groans and covers his face with his free hand.

 

“Yeah, let’s just pretend you don’t know about that. It’ll keep both of us sane.” Matt nods agreeably. Foggy should probably actually go to the gym once in a while anyway. This will be good incentive. “But it’ll be fine. A little bit of discretion and we’ll be good to go. It’s not like you’re any better at lying to me.”

 

“Exactly.” Matt seems quite triumphant and thankful. Foggy tries to think of any other deep dark secrets to share with Matt, but he can’t dredge any up. Well, there’s the fact that he has a crush on Matt, but…

 

Oh. He has a crush on Matt. Can Matt tell that? Is that one of those things that Matt can sense and hasn’t been calling him out on? Foggy thinks back. No, it’s not that kind of crush. It’s not the ‘oh god he looked at me does that mean he likes me what can I say to make him like me more why can’t I think of anything that’s not stupid ugh I said something stupid does he not like me anymore no he likes me I know he likes me when should we have the wedding how many kids should we have oh god oh god oh god’.

 

It’s more the sharing a bed together and holding hands kind of crush, when you know nothing’s going to happen so you’re not nervous. Foggy likes that kind of crush better. He’s not sure his blood pressure could take the ‘oh god’ kind of crush for very long.

 

“Here’s a secret: I want to keep telling secrets, but I’m falling asleep.” Foggy tells Matt sheepishly, and Matt laughs.

 

“Me too.” He confides. “I think that’s enough secrets for the night. Time to sleep and ‘forget’ this ever happened.” He bites his lip for a second. “And maybe once we recover from our hangovers, I could introduce you to my father? It’s about time for another visit. I want to tell him about the graduation ceremony.”

 

Foggy nods and dares to wiggle closer. There, that could still count as just very friendly, even under the critical eye of 'most dudes'. Matt doesn’t protest, at least, but then he's not 'most dudes', is he? Not even close.

 

“Sounds good. I can’t wait.” Foggy mumbles, and he wants to say more but he really is falling asleep. “I need to get changed into good clothes first and comb my hair though. Gotta make…a good…impression.”

 

“I don’t think that will be a problem. How could he not love you?” Matt murmurs softly. "Eres mi media naranja."

 

And it’s a new phrase, but it's said in the soft and sweet way that Foggy recognizes, so he smiles sleepily without opening his eyes.

 

Siento lo mismo.” He waits a while more, listens to the even breathing of Matt finally reaching slumber, and after learning what he has Foggy doesn't dare say the next part aloud. His last secret. He mouths it instead, careful and slow. I love when you speak Spanish, because sometimes it makes me feel like you want me too. Something's got to be getting lost in translation there, huh? 

 

Idiot. Foggy snuggles closer.


There are two places Matt goes to pay respects to his father: the graveyard and the gym.

 

The second one might seem odd to someone who doesn’t know him, but Foggy eventually gets enough bits and pieces to understand. The gym is a second home to Matt, a place he spent hours and hours at with his father. He has more memories of his father hidden here than he does almost anywhere else, and they’re some of his best ones. Matt goes to the graveyard when he wants to talk to his father directly, telling him about Matt’s life and his thoughts.

 

Matt goes to the gym when he wants to pretend his life isn’t happening, tuning everything out and getting back to his roots, to the bones of who he is.

 

Oddly, it takes longer for Matt to let Foggy come with him to the gym than it does for him to let Foggy come to the graveyard. Foggy thinks it’s because Matt’s more vulnerable at the gym, exposed and less restrained. With the graveyard he’s more in control. When he’s at the gym…

 

“Take a break.” Foggy advises, pushing away from the wall. Matt ignores him. “Now, Matt. It’s got to hurt by now.”

 

“That’s the point.” Matt returns with worrying ferocity, still punching—harder. He’s punching even harder.

 

“Okay, I’m walking over to you. You can either stop and talk to me, or you can keep punching and risk hitting me instead of the bag.” It’s a low tactic, but it’s pretty much the only way to snap Matt out of it when he’s like this. Matt does stop, closing his eyes tightly as Foggy edges closer. “You’re doing everything you can.”

 

“Am I?” Matt snaps, turning towards him. “Because nothing seems to be happening.”

 

Foggy presses a bottle of water into his hands, but Matt doesn’t drink it. He just starts tossing it from hand to hand, and Foggy thinks it’s a supplement for the punching—less likely to hurt Foggy, but it keeps his hands moving and that helps.

 

“It will.” Foggy soothes. “People are trying. They’re trying hard, but these things take time.” Matt doesn’t seem comforted by this. Foggy sighs. “Matt, there are limits that people have, things they can and can’t do. It’s like a maze, right? You need to find your way through by following the right paths.”

 

Matt squeezes the water bottle so hard that the plastic crackles and crumples under the pressure. 

 

“Actually, I think I’d just break down the walls of the maze.” Matt tells him bluntly. Foggy grins weakly. 

 

“Well, that would certainly save time.” He allows. “But if the walls are representing law and order here, which they are, then you kind of just wrecked the justice system.”

 

Matt blinks slowly.

 

“I suppose I did.” He agrees, contemplative, almost blank. Foggy laughs and nudges his arm, partly as a fond gesture and partly to push the bottled water closer to him so Matt might actually drink it instead of using it like a stress ball.

 

“You could just climb over the walls when no one was looking.” Foggy points out pensively, hoping to draw Matt more into the metaphorical puzzle and out of his dark mood. “And then the maze would still be there and nobody would know you cheated.” 

 

Matt stops sloshing the water around in the bottle, and he stops crushing the poor bit of plastic. Instead he holds it perfectly still, one finger tapping gently at the top of the cap. 

 

Finally, he smiles and twists open the cap, raising the mouth of the bottle to his lips. The smile is strange, triumphant like Matt’s already climbing the walls in his mind and doing a fantastic job of it. He takes a long sip, drinking the whole bottle down in one go. Foggy can’t take his eyes off of the smooth working of Matt’s throat as he swallows, although his gaze snaps up guiltily when Matt sighs and recaps the empty bottle.

 

Matt licks his lips, and he’s still smiling that strange little smile.

 

“That is a wonderful idea, mi ángel.

 

An-hell? Foggy has no idea what Hell has to do with this. Probably some sort of mini Spanish prayer. 'Send this asshole to Hell, but only after a lengthly prison sentence here on Earth. Amen.' Foggy likes it.

 

"Amen." Foggy chirps, and Matt looks quite surprised by this response, probably stunned in the face of Foggy's badass deductive skills. Ha! " Come on, lunchtime. You pick, I pay." Foggy urges brightly. "Anything for my numero uno amigo."

 

Oh, yeah. He is really rocking this Spanish thing.

 


Te quiero besar.”

 

“A queer bazaar?” Foggy guesses gamely, looking up. He blinks when he sees the look of abject joy on Matt’s face. The words that Foggy doesn’t understand don’t matter, because the look on Matt’s face says exactly what happened. “No. Really?”

 

Matt beams and nods.

 

“I’m sorry I doubted you.” He saunters closer, practically shining with the success. “You were right. We all just have to do what we can.” Foggy beams back.

 

“There, see? The system works.” He says proudly, and Matt keeps smiling like a Cheshire cat. Foggy’s smiling pretty madly himself, because finally, finally that girl Matt told him about is going to be okay. The dad’s not going to hurt her, and Social Services will help her get to someone who will keep her safe and happy for the rest of her life.

 

“I can’t thank you enough for your help.” Matt tells him earnestly, and Foggy really only gave him water and a pep talk but he’ll take the overwhelming gratitude, no problem. “I feel like I’m walking on air. I feel invincible. I want to do something crazy. I want to do something exciting, something I've always been too scared to do before. Quiero arrancarte toda la ropa. Quiero besar todas las partes de tu cuerpo.”

 

...Wow. So there are ways of talking that give certain impressions, and the impression Matt just gave is that he's a man two seconds from ravishing Foggy on the desk. That seems unlikely, seeing as how they're standing in their office and Matt's probably not into public sex and definitely not into Foggy. Foggy swallows down his usual gush of stupid, sticky, sappy words and chooses to laugh instead. Whatever Matt’s saying, he sounds really energetic about it. That's a good sign.

 

“Yeah, okay.” He agrees good-naturedly. “So ‘quiero’ is like saying something you want?” Matt nods, grinning. “Cool. So, what was all of that gobbledygook you just said? Let me guess. You want…” He pauses, considering. “You want to go back to my place and celebrate with bad Thai food and good wine.”

 

Matt keeps smiling.

 

“Very close.” He praises, and Foggy beams. “You just got a few words wrong.” Well, that’s better than Foggy usually does.

 

“Awesome. Siento lo mismo to all the above.” Foggy says easily, and Matt smirks in a rather suspicious way. Foggy’s eyes narrow. “Wait a second. When you said I got a few words wrong, just how many words were we talking?” Did he just say ‘me too’ to something really embarrassing?

 

“Don’t worry about it.” Matt soothes. “You got the sentiment absolutely right. I wanted to go back to your place and celebrate.”

 

“Oh.” Foggy nods, placated, before squinting down at the papers on his desk. “It might take me twenty minutes or so to finish up enough to not look totally stupid in front of the bosses. You want to stick around?”

 

“Of course I do.” Not many people would sound that enthusiastic about killing time in a boring office waiting for a friend to fill out boring paperwork, but Matt appears to be in the sort of mood that cannot be brought down, even by the mind-numbing monotony of career obligations. “It feels amazing to finally get some results.” Matt continues earnestly. “I’d gotten so jaded, but now I realize that I just wasn’t looking at the problem the right way.”

 

“Uh-huh.” Foggy agrees absently, scribbling a short note in the margins to talk about tomorrow with the rest of the team. “I’m glad.”

 

“But now I know how to tackle the problem and face it head-on.” Matt seems almost besotted with his new outlook on life and revitalized faith in the criminal justice system. Maybe Foggy’s better than he thought he was when it comes to pep talks.

 

“Leave it to you to think of it in terms of tackling.” Foggy mutters, and Matt chuckles. “But I really am glad you got some closure.” He’d been worried. Matt was getting thinner and paler every with every day that ticked by. Now he’s got a nice glow to his cheeks from excitement, and he’s still too thin but Foggy can fix that with a glut of bad Thai food.

 

“It’s good to know that you can make a difference.” Matt offers earnestly. “All I ever wanted to do was defend people.”

 

The idea of hanging out with Matt when he’s in this good a mood is tantalizing. Foggy taps his pen once against his desk and decides he can afford to look a little stupid tomorrow. He pushes the papers away and stands.

 

“Let’s go get this party started.” He cheers, and he’s thrilled when Matt reaches right out and takes his arm for leading. He got up here with the stick, but he’s letting Foggy take him back out. The building’s got to be close to empty anyway since it’s after hours, so Matt doesn’t need a cover, but he’s letting Foggy lead anyway. It’s a good feeling.

 

They’re munching on their bad Thai food and stealthily sneaking their least favorite vegetables onto each other’s plates, and Foggy’s debating with himself out loud about what kind of dog Matt would be (probably a Doberman, sleek and dark with a hint of red in the hair, might seem tough sometimes but is really a sweetheart that just wants his belly rubbed), when Matt turns to him and says quite seriously:

 

"Eres mi media naranja."

 

Foggy hums thoughtfully, pausing for a sip of cheap but passably good wine.

 

“You said that one before.” He recalls, victorious that his spotty memory came through for him. Matt rarely repeats his Spanish phrases so it’s harder for Foggy to remember them and look them up, giving Matt more room to torture him. He really is sadistic. “Come on, you can’t leave me hanging. What does it mean?”

 

Matt considers him for a moment, slipping another few vegetables onto Foggy’s plate without bothering to be sneaky anymore. The jig is up.

 

“It means ‘you are my half orange.” Matt translates matter-of-factly, and Foggy blinks, completely lost.

 

“O…kay?” He can’t even pretend to understand what that means. “And that’s good?” Matt nods.

 

 “It’s an idiom.” He explains, trying to find the right words. “It’s like when you say someone is the ‘salt to your pepper’ or your ‘better half’. Just two things that go together very well. Perfectly.”

 

Foggy can’t keep the grin off of his face.

 

“That’s so cute!” He chuckles, and Matt rolls his eyes and keeps eating, or at least prods his food timidly like he's checking it for life signs or chemical weapons before he gobbles it down. Considering the restaurant they ordered from, that might not be a bad idea. “No, I mean it. That’s really sweet. Thank you.” Matt shrugs, maybe a little self-conscious. Foggy taps his shoulder. “Teach me.”

 

Matt’s fork, which had been industriously poking at the same bit of chicken for the past minute, stills.

 

“Teach you?” He repeats slowly. Foggy nods and makes an eager sound of agreement.

 

“Yeah! I want to be able to say it too.” Matt looks undecided. “Come on. It’s just one sentence. It won’t be like before.” Mind like a sieve. It’s pathetic. “I can do just one sentence as long as you keep saying it every day for a while.” He’ll need some refreshers—it had taken him a good two weeks to get ‘siento lo mismo’ down without having to think about it. 

 

Matt hesitates, twirling the fork through his fingers in what’s actually quite an impressive maneuver. Foggy wonders if Matt ever went out for baton twirling back in grade school. He’d look kind of adorable.

 

“Okay.” He decides finally. “Repeat after me. Eres mi media naranja.”

 

“Air is my mead, Daenerys. Ha!” The look on Matt’s face is priceless. “Sorry, sorry. Sometimes it helps me to think of words that sound sort of the same. I’ll do better. Say it again.”

 

Matt sighs, and it’s clear his hopes are not high here. Foggy’s going to prove him wrong. Matt is the salt to his pepper and the half orange to his…other half orange, and Foggy’s going to make sure he’s got the lingo to prove it.

 

Eres mi media naranja.” Matt says again with remarkable patience. Foggy nods and takes a deep breath. He fails a few more times, but eventually he manages to get it out without sounding like a total idiot.

 

Eres mi media naranja.” Matt had been resting his head on his palm, leaning his elbow on the table and looking close to either falling asleep or ending his misery by drowning himself in the rest of his wine. At Foggy’s words though, his eyes widen and he sits up straight.

 

“Say that again.” He orders, and Foggy does. A smile like a sunrise breaks out over Matt’s face. “Perfect. That was perfect.” Foggy beams and says it again, smugly. “One more time for me, mi cielo. Can you say it one more time?" Easily. Foggy smirks as he rattles it off again, more confidently. He even tries rolling his 'r', which turns out to be a disaster, so he does it again without all the fancy bits. Just nice and simple, and Matt shudders. Foggy hopes that's a shudder of awe and not one of disappointment towards Foggy's flat American 'r'. "Eres mi media naranja. Foggy, mi sol, I knew you could do it.”

 

Did he though? Judging by the amazement in his face, maybe not. Well, whatever. Foggy did do it, and that’s all that matters.

 

“I like it.” Foggy admits. “It’s sort of a like a secret because not many people know what it means. So you’re my half orange and my grande avocado. Eres mi grande avocado. Right?”

 

The unique mix of emotions in Matt’s expression says that what Foggy said isn’t right, but that Matt finds it endearing that he tried.

 

“You know what?” Matt nods firmly. “Yes. Eres mi grande avocado, Foggy. We’ll be both.”

 

Judging by the slight choppiness to Matt’s words, Foggy’s guessing that the sentence is pretty much completely wrong and it almost hurts Matt’s trained tongue to get the phrase out. Still, he seems even fonder than he did before, so Foggy will take it.

 

“A toast to my grande avocado and media naranja!” Foggy cheers, and Matt obediently returns the toast. “I really like that. And then we’ll be partners too…what word is that?”

 

"Socio is 'business partner'." Matt offers promptly, and then considers for a moment, gaze distant and meditative. "Partners, though. There's also cónyuge, marido, esposo…” He clears his throat as Foggy nods with affected understanding. He’s never going to be able to remember all of those. “But socio would probably be the best fit for us. As partners. At least for the moment.”

 

“Got it. I can do that.” Foggy vows. He doubts he’s going to be introducing Matt as a partner rather than a colleague for a while, and it’s unlikely he’s ever going to be introducing Matt in Spanish when Matt’s the fluent one, but it’s good to know. It makes him feel smarter and more cultured anyway.

 

“I know you can.” Matt tells him affectionately, and they finish up their meals, both of them relaxed and content.

 

Foggy lets Matt out and gets ready for bed, repeating it as much as he can under his breath so he won’t forget it. He doesn't sound sexy as he recites, and he doubts he ever will, but he still wants to know it.

 

“Eres mi media naranja. Eres mi grande avocado. Eres mi socio…


Spanish is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world.

 

Foggy knows that. Everyone knows that, just like it seems that just about everyone in Hell’s Kitchen speaks Spanish except Foggy. Spanish is widely spoken, but it’s not widely spoken to Foggy. Matt’s pretty much the only person that speaks Spanish to Foggy, and since they’re not exactly social butterflies, Foggy’s pretty much the only one that hears Matt speak Spanish.

 

Until now.

 

Elena Cardenas is an amazing lady. Foggy’s only known her for a few minutes, and he’s already certain of that. She also speaks more Spanish than English—also totally obvious from those first few minutes. That’s fine. The obvious solution here is that the fluent Spanish-speaking lawyer talk to Elena about her legal problems and translate for his not-so-fluent partner.

 

There’s some part of Foggy that balks at the idea. He’s come, bizarrely, to think of Spanish as a secret language, a verbal sort of rune or code that’s just for him and Matt. Foggy has no idea how to decrypt most of the code, but it’s still special to him. He jealously wants to keep it to himself. He doesn’t want people to hear the subtle purr to Matt’s voice and the richness in the words, to detect the slight hint of exhilaration Matt gets knowing that he’s good at something and he can show it off.

 

He doesn’t want Matt to speak Spanish with other people. He just wants him to speak it with Foggy.

 

He’s fully aware that this is selfish, stupid and completely crazy, but he still feels that way. In this case though, he’s willing to make an exception. Elena is a valued client (and at the moment, their only client), and she will be treated as such. Foggy can share Matt just for a little while. Just for a few minutes.

 

Maybe Foggy should be grateful. Matt doesn’t speak Spanish to Elena nearly as much as Foggy thought he would. Oh, no. Something even worse happens.

 

Karen speaks Spanish.

 

This shouldn’t be as devastating as it is. Lots of people speak Spanish. Brett speaks Spanish, Foggy knows that. Foggy’s college roommate spoke Spanish. Foggy’s cousin speaks Spanish. A ton of people speak Spanish. It’s just that not a lot of people speak Spanish and make up one-third of the Nelson and Murdock staff, look beautiful, act beautiful, and clearly have a bit of a thing for Matt and thus a motive for impressing him.

 

No, Foggy’s only met one person like that, and that’s Karen Paige.

 

Foggy can’t tell if Matt likes Karen back. He truly can’t because Matt’s a tough book to read even with best friend footnotes, but if Matt has any interest at all in her, hearing her speak Spanish is going to increase that interest tenfold. Foggy absolutely adores hearing Matt speak Spanish, and it is undeniably sensual and spellbinding. He falls a little bit more in love every time Matt calls him encantador with that soft smile.

 

It makes sense that Matt would feel the same way about the language, and Karen’s already so amazing. And Foggy feels guilty, because he can’t give Matt that. He can’t do the sexy Spanish purr back at Matt. Foggy can barely stutter out a few basic sentences, and even then he knows his accent is probably atrocious and he’s getting the inflections wrong. Foggy can’t make Matt’s breath catch and his skin tingle by speaking Spanish.

 

Karen can.

 

“No, no. I like listening to your voice.”

 

Foggy hunches over a bit, miserable and trying to make himself look smaller. Matt’s not even taking the opportunity to step in and take over, even though he’s clearly the stronger speaker. No, he wants to listen to Karen speak instead, because he likes her Spanish and he likes her voice and…and…

 

And Matt’s never once said that he likes listening to Foggy’s voice. Not once.

 

Foggy stays relatively quiet during the rest of the interview. He doesn’t have much to contribute because he doesn’t speak any Spanish because he’s an idiot, idiot, idiot. He also doesn’t want to talk too much in case Matt doesn’t like listening to his voice.

 

“…Sick?” Foggy blinks when he feels the warm back of a hand against his forehead. He hadn’t even realized he was zoning out, but now that he’s tuned back in he can see that Karen and Elena are out in the main office working on details, and Matt is standing in front of him. He’s frowning and looks increasingly worried with each moment Foggy doesn’t answer.

 

“No, I’m not sick.” Foggy’s guessing that’s what Matt was asking, even though he only caught the one word. “Sorry, I was just lost in the clouds. I wasn’t much use down on the ground, you know?”

 

Matt’s frown only deepens. Foggy had tried to say it in a joking, insouciant tone, but Matt doesn’t seem to be buying it.

 

“Of course you’re useful. You’re an important member of the team, and my partner.”

 

Foggy smiles, but it’s anemic and wan.

 

“Right. Socio. I remember that one.” He laughs shakily. “Pretty much the only one I remember. I’m such a scatterbrain.” Foggy sees the second Matt picks the problem apart. His eyes widen, and Foggy’s close enough that he can see the action clearly through Matt’s glasses.

 

“Is that what this is about?” Matt wonders, and although his voice is gentle there’s a tinge of incredulity to it. “You’re feeling guilty because you don’t speak Spanish?” Foggy makes an abashed sound of agreement. “Foggy, it’s okay. Karen and I both speak it—oh.” Foggy winces and looks away. “So you’re jealous?”

 

“I’m not jealous.” Foggy protests hotly, and his face feels hot to match. “I just…she makes it look so easy. I don’t get why I can’t speak it like that.” Matt shrugs, gripping his shoulder kindly.

 

“People have different talents. You’re not the best at learning languages, but you can memorize facts and trivia better than I ever could. Karen can speak Spanish, but that doesn’t mean she’s more valuable than you.” Foggy says nothing. “This is a law office. You are a lawyer. You’re kind of essential here, Foggy.”

 

Matt does look very earnest, and Foggy really does want to believe it.

 

“And I’m still your media naranja, right?” Foggy checks. He just can’t help himself. Matt’s not replacing him with a prettier, zestier, Spanish-speaking half orange?

 

He’s surprised when Matt yanks him into a quick hug. Matt’s not even drunk—or at least Foggy hopes he’s not, this early in the day. This is a lot of touching. Foggy takes full advantage of it, hugging back tightly but making sure to loosen his hold quickly so Matt can escape whenever he wants to.

 

“There are only two halves to an orange, Foggy. You’re mine.” Matt promises, and Foggy hides a grin in Matt’s hair as he nods. Matt either gets uncomfortable with the extended contact or he simply decides that the hug has gone on a bit too long for viewing in a public area with a stranger a few feet away (which is a fair assessment), because he lets go. Foggy reluctantly allows him to step away.

 

“You’re mine too.” Foggy feels significantly better. There, that’s still their secret Spanish. Karen might not know that idiom, just like she didn’t know ‘sledgehammer’. “So, I thought I heard something about Landman and Zack and you volunteering me to go, but I must have been hearing wrong because you would never be that cruel. Right?”

 

Matt’s smile leans heavily towards the guilty side of things. An hour’s time finds Foggy and Karen ambling through the doors of a place that Foggy thinks might be a manifestation of cold corporate cruelty.

 

And then there’s Marci Stahl—the personification of cold corporate cruelty. She used to just be the personification of cold cruelty, but it appears she’s evolved. The old Marci’s still in there though, Foggy sees it for that split second before he manages to flee on a high note. Foggy might have to go back and try to find that old Marci again when he has some time and a healthy dose of irrational optimism in his blood.

 

Foggy sees his blood later, leaking out of his side, and he can’t see even a drop of irrational optimism in it. It’s just a scratch and he really shouldn’t be taking up room in a hectically overpopulated hospital, but he’s achy and the nurse is insistent so he settles in meekly and watches Hell’s Kitchen fall apart on the news.

 

He watches the man in the mask, and Foggy finds himself a new enemy. This is the guy who put that cut on Elena’s face and caused even more damage to her apartment, and who put Karen in danger, and who gave Foggy that dumb scratch. Foggy sees the video of the cops, and that’s scary too—what if one of those cops had been Brett? Brett would be right here in the hospital with Foggy, and he’d probably have a lot worse than a scratch.

 

Foggy finds Matt later once he gets released, and Matt looks tired and beat up too. Foggy adds that to his list of grievances, a list longer than even his most ambitious letters to Santa as a kid. Matt tries more than a few times to convince him that the man in the mask might not be the devil himself, speaking of personifications. Foggy’s pretty cold in his rebuffs, but he’s angry and he needs somebody to take that anger out on. The man in the mask seems like a pretty solid candidate.

 

And then Matt pulls out the Spanish.

 

Foggy, estoy perdidamente enamorado de ti, pero a veces me vuelves loco.” Foggy stops mid-rant, startled at the frustration in Matt’s voice.

 

“What?” That one seemed to be somewhere between Matt’s tone when he’s saying something nice and when he’s saying something not-nice about Foggy, and the mixture is an anomaly for them. It also sounded very vehement. “Okay, if you want me to respond to that, you’re going to have to translate.”

 

Matt sighs.

 

“I’m sorry. I just…I said you were driving me crazy.” Foggy teeters on the verge of being offended, but something stops him. Matt only uses Spanish when he’s saying something important that he’s shy about sharing. The really mushy stuff and the really cranky stuff. That makes this important. Foggy’s just not sure why.

 

But it is important.

 

“Right, okay. Understood.” Foggy breathes out carefully as he tries to make the righteous anger leak out of him all at once. “The difference between dialogue and monologue is letting the other person talk.” Matt nods, relaxing. “State your case.”

 

Matt hesitates.

 

“I’m not sure I have one in his favor.” He hedges carefully. “Because there aren’t enough facts available.” Except for the videos of the guy committing all of these crimes. “I mean motive, Foggy.” Matt adds exasperatedly, sensing Foggy’s somewhat snide thought. “The whys rather than just the whats. Very few people are actually a terror without the –ist. They have a reason for what they do, and you need to step back and look at that. It’s Attorney 101. Don’t let your personal feelings color your professional opinion.”

 

“Thanks for the refresher course, Professor Murdock.” Foggy mutters petulantly, and Matt purses his lips in what Foggy thinks is an unintentional mimicry of one of their sternest teachers. “You seem pretty personally invested too.” He points out, but it’s a halfhearted blow. Matt waits. “I won’t say it out loud, but I will still be thinking about it.” Foggy bargains finally. “Guilty until proven innocent.”

 

“I’m relatively sure that’s not the way it goes.” Matt rubs at the tension in his temples. He might not have been exaggerating much about the crazy bit. He looks kind of spread thin, cracking around the corners. “But I’ll accept the sentiment as long as you give him a chance to prove you wrong.”

 

Foggy snorts.

 

“Sure, I’ll have a nice long talk with him if he waltzes into our office—while we wait for the cops to show up and haul his ass to jail. Then they can have a nice long talk with him too.” He offers darkly. Matt gives him a quelling look, and Foggy ducks his head. “Sorry. I’ll zip it.” He promises.

 

“Thank you.” Matt’s gathering his things, but he takes the time to shoot Foggy a strained smile. “Are you sure you don’t want to come?”

 

“Hmm, hoity-toity art show or watching Lieutenant Columbo with a big bowl of buttery popcorn.” Foggy lifts both of his hands, miming a scale as he weighs the costs and benefits. “Are you sure you don’t want to come with me? Columbo is like 80% talking anyway, and you saw most of them when you were a kid.”

 

He’d really like Matt to come with him. There’s no point to this. They can find out about Fisk’s squeeze without going to badger her at her workplace. They even risk tipping Fisk off about their intentions, and that’s not a good idea. Matt seems hell-bent on going though. Foggy thinks he might actually want Fisk to show up. Matt likes doing things the direct way and he likes to stand up for himself and others. He’d probably like getting a chance to verbally spar with Fisk.

 

Foggy’s not getting involved. If Matt wants his metaphorical pissing contest, he can have it—as long as it doesn’t get him shot and dumped in a lake somewhere. Foggy isn’t going to be playing king-of-the-urban-jungle unless he absolutely has to.

 

Besides, he has better things to do. Even better than lazy TV and popcorn, as impossible as that sounds.

 

“You know I can’t.” Matt seems happy that Foggy’s trying though. He likes having options so he can choose the one that will cause him the most trouble. Weirdo. “I’ll talk to you tomorrow and tell you what I found.”

 

All he’s going to find is some incredibly expensive art and a pretty lady, if he’s lucky. Foggy nods anyway.

 

“You do that. Good luck, buddy.”

 

They go their separate ways, and Foggy has to restrain himself from bouncing too much as he starts over to the store to pick it up.

 

The sign. The beauteous sign that will grace their office for what Foggy hopes will be decades to come. Matt’s going to love it, Foggy knows he will, and he’ll need something to perk him up after his oh-so-subtle reconnaissance fails. Foggy beams at the sign and pays the engraver a tip he really can’t afford to give for the rush job.

 

He drops it off at home and heads out again.

 

Señor Foggy.” Elena seems pleasantly surprised to see him, which is a surprisingly pleasant feeling. “Come in, come in. I’m making chocolate caliente.

 

“Yummy.” Foggy ducks into the room, grinning. He totally made the right choice. ‘Caliente’ instead of ‘hot’. “Let me know if I can help.”

 

Elena is one of those cooks that Foggy thinks might smack you with a spoon if you get in their way, so he mostly stays out of spoon reach as she stirs the cocoa. He talks the whole time though, as she’s making the chocolate and as they’re settling down to drink it, and Foggy thinks he’s going to have to find someone to work on the windows. They’re rough after the bombs, but he’s not a window guy himself. It’ll get chilly in here though, if they don’t fix it soon. Chocolate caliente isn’t going to cut it in the dead of winter.

 

“So, if I tell you what I need to tell Matt, you’ll help me translate it?” Foggy asks hopefully, taking a hearty sip of his cocoa as he waits for an answer. He doesn’t have to wait long.

 

“Of course.” Elena assures him quite cheerfully. “What do you want to say?”

 

Foggy pulls out the scrap of paper he’s using for this. He’s already scribbled the English. Now he just needs the Spanish.

 

“Okay, here we go. 'Matt, you are the best friend I’ve ever had, and the only partner I ever will have. You’ve been a source of strength and joy and comfort for me, and this is a sign so the rest of the world will know how much I appreciate you. I hope this is just the first in a long line of things that we’ll share together in our lives. Thank you for being crazy enough to put up with me.” Foggy nods to himself. “It’s a little formal, but I want him to know I’m serious about it, you know?” Elena nods kindly. “So, any ideas? I can say it again—or, here. How about you just read it and tell me what you think…”

 

It’s a bit long, and maybe it is too formal. He doesn’t want to sound stilted. He just wants to sound like it matters. It’s a big deal. He’s been sketching this sign for years, and now it’s finally here. They’re finally here.

 

Saying it in Spanish—he’s hoping that will make it even more special. It’ll prove just how invested in this he is, that he actually recited a whole speech in Spanish for Matt. Matt’s got to appreciate the magnitude of this gesture, having spent so much time trying to teach Foggy.

 

Elena takes the note and hums thoughtfully now and again while she reads it. She has a warm smile on her face when she looks back up, eyes large behind her spectacles. Matt’s eyes don’t do that, get magnified by the lenses. Foggy supposes Matt’s prescription is probably a little different.

 

“You can make it shorter.” She advises, and Foggy nods encouragingly. Shorter is good as long as it’s still deep. Shorter will be easier to memorize. “You say ‘te amo’.”

 

Foggy blinks.

 

“Well, that is definitely…shorter.” He agrees, puzzled. It’s hard to imagine that two words can fully encapsulate the sentiments that took him thirty minutes and five scrapped pieces of paper to write though. “And that means…?”

 

“It means ‘I love you’.” Elena translates gently, and Foggy freezes.

 

“I love you.” He repeats blankly. “And that’s ‘I love you’ in a friendly way, right? Friends, not lovers.”

 

Elena giggles, and she sounds young. Foggy can get the briefest impression of a belladonna-eyed beauty who laughed at the world, and he thinks that’s what Elena was like as a girl.

 

“Lovers.” She corrects him. “Amantes. Votos matrimoniales, si?” Foggy shrugs, lost. She thinks for a moment. “Wedding vows. Yes?”

 

There is a moment of blank shock that overtakes Foggy at this assertion. He holds out his hand impatiently for the paper and looks at it desperately as soon as it’s in his hands.

 

“No, of course they’re not wedding vows. We’re not getting married. It’s not…” His voice fades to nothing as he reads it again. In a certain light, it might seem a bit confusing. Even the word ‘sign’ could be talking about a ring or something. A sign of Foggy’s commitment to Matt as a partner for the rest of their lives. Oh, God. “It’s just a sign, Elena. I’m just giving him a sign. Like for a door.”

 

He draws out the little rectangle in the air to demonstrate the sign. He’s already learned the dimensions by heart.

 

“No, no.” Elena makes it sound like he’s a silly boy being silly. “No signs. You say ‘te amo’.”

 

“I can’t say ‘te amo’.” Foggy squeaks. “That would be crazy.” It’s true, but saying it while shoving an office sign into Matt’s hands is not the way to offer up that bit of information. Elena giggles again.

 

“Say ‘te amo’.” She advises him sagely. “He will be happy.”

 

“He wouldn’t be happy.” Foggy mutters mutinously, scrunching up the paper in his hands. It was a dumb thing to write. “He doesn’t amo me back.” Elena clicks her tongue disapprovingly, and Foggy scowls down at the paper. “He doesn’t.”

 

“Try.” Elena orders, and it’s like an order from a drill sergeant. Foggy hops to attention before he even knows what he’s doing, sitting straight up on the couch and nodding. He can definitely see the fearsome spoon-wielding cook in Elena right now, hidden in there with the belladonna beauty and Elena must have been terrifying as a young woman. “Be happy.”

 

She clearly thinks that Foggy’s got a chance, which is flattering. Of course, she hasn’t known them long enough to appreciate the sheer platonic force of Matt’s friendship. She wouldn’t be nudging him towards a confession otherwise.

 

“Will you translate this though? Just in case?” He offers the rather ragged paper to her, but she shakes her head and plucks it out of his hand, tucking it into her pocket.

 

“Say ‘te amo’.” She orders again, both gentle and firm. Foggy’s not going to wrestle an old lady for a ratty piece of paper, so he sighs reluctantly and pretends to agree. He’ll just tell Matt something nice in English.

 

Elena is too kind and leads him down to the street—and almost directly into the path of a man with a knife and the twitchy manner of an addict. And oh yeah, a knife. Let’s not forget the knife.

 

He’s not even looking at Foggy. He’s looking right past him at Elena, and if this were just a robbery that wouldn’t be happening. Foggy’s the bigger threat. The guy’s got tunnel vision though, a glint of purpose in his eye and…

 

And that knife.

 

There’s a man here to kill Foggy’s friend, and Foggy didn’t think Fisk would sink this low, but then maybe he did think it. It took two seconds to put it together. He hopes Matt’s not getting the same treatment somewhere else in the city. If so, he’s probably handling it better than Foggy is.

 

Matt taught Foggy three self-defense moves during their many years together. One: dodge. Two: Kick/punch—whichever one is more effective, both if you can, go for the groin or the eyes or the throat or the knee. Fight dirty. Three: Run and find me, Foggy. Don’t you dare try to be a hero. I can’t lose you.

 

Matt isn’t available for comment, so Foggy’s stuck with moves one and two. He can do that. It’s to protect Elena, and the guy’s half-delirious right now, skinny and swaying in the wind. Foggy’s got the weight advantage and the added edge of not being drug-addled and insane and undernourished. This will be a piece of cake. It’s not being a hero. It’s being a decent human being.

 

Foggy does manage to stop the assassin. He also manages to get stabbed.

 

“I’m fine. I’m good.” He assures Elena, not daring to look down. He can feel the blood dripping down, and at the moment he feels sort of floaty and he’s not sure if that’s from mental shock or physical shock, because he thinks he’s losing a bit of blood. Just a teeny bit. “We might want to call an ambulance though. This guy is totally going to need one.”

 

He jerks his thumb at the relatively unharmed but still unconscious rail-thin druggie on the ground. Foggy’s quite proud. He’s totally a hero.

 

Elena’s stronger than she looks. She catches him before he hits the ground and Foggy beams up at her.

 

Buenas noches, Elena.” He mumbles. “Matt taught me that one. It means good night.”

 

Is it night? It must be. Everything is so dark…


“Look at that! My media naranja is bringing me naranja juice.”

 

Matt gives him a disbelieving but fond smile as he passes the tiny carton over.

 

“Jugo de naranja.” “ He says sternly, pointing at the juice. Foggy repeats it obediently. “Drink it. You lost a lot of blood, which means you lost a lot of fluids. The nurse says the more you can drink, the sooner you’ll get out of here.” Foggy flicks his gaze towards the door, curious.

 

“So, you say ‘nurse’.” Foggy drawls coyly. “But I say ‘mysterious woman who you clearly know but never told me about’. Care to share?”

 

Matt resists for a moment, but seems to decide it’s not worth the struggle.

 

“Her name is Claire.” Matt confesses. “And she’s not mysterious. The only reason I never mentioned her is because it never seemed important.”

 

“Uh-huh.” Matt tells him all kinds of unimportant things. Not lately though. Matt’s been acting odd recently, wiggling out of get-togethers and sliding away from any attempts Foggy makes to talk to him about why he’s being so squirrely. And one of the things Matt had been acting the weirdest about was his mysterious woman who he talked to on… “Oh my god, she’s Hottie McBurner Phone.” Matt flinches. “She is, isn’t she? Wow, so I was right about the hot part.”

 

He is willing to acknowledge the assets of a rival. Now, why Matt has to go around picking up hot chicks like a black sweater picks up white dog hair, Foggy has no clue. It’s like he’s one of those broody protagonists that needs a harem of possible love interests just to keep the audience guessing.

 

Foggy doubts he’s included in that harem.

 

“Is she hot? I hadn’t noticed.” Matt offers stiffly. Foggy’s not buying it. Matt’s admitted before that he can suss out attractiveness using his senses. He totally knows that Claire is hot. “We’re not lovers, if that’s what you’re thinking.”

 

Lovers. That’s what Elena had said about him and Matt. Amo-something, or maybe ama-something. Something with love.

 

Foggy hopes the gratifyingly unharmed Elena comes to visit him after she finishes giving her statement and getting everything tidied up. Foggy wants to ask her how to say the word again. Lovers.

 

“Why would I be thinking that?” Foggy asks innocently. “I mean, who doesn’t keep their all of their friends’ numbers on a specially designated burner phone? You have my number on a cute little burner phone, don’t you?” He prods vindictively.

 

Matt sighs.

 

“You know I don’t.” He grumbles. “But it’s more complicated than that. We’re just friends though, that I can promise you. She’s a very good friend who is going to take care of you because she knows how important you are to me.” He says this last part more loudly than the rest, and Foggy figures out why when Ms. McBurner Phone herself appears in the doorway.

 

“I’m going to do my job.” She corrects him coolly.

 

“You always do.” Matt compliments her, and she smiles but there’s something about it…it’s one of those smiles where your jaw tenses around it because you’re tense and you’d really rather not be smiling. “She’s a very good nurse.” Matt confides to Foggy.

 

“Which essentially means I can deal with difficult patients without losing too much of my sanity.” Claire adds, and her smile is a little more real when Foggy laughs.

 

“Sounds like a rough gig.” He commiserates. “I don’t have much sanity left after dealing with this guy for so long, but it’s worth the craziness.” He pokes Matt with his straw before sticking it into the top of the juice carton.

 

Claire eyes the carton thoughtfully.

 

“I told you we didn’t have any orange juice left.” She tells Matt, perplexed. Foggy slurps his orange juice, just as stumped as she is. Obviously they did have it or Foggy wouldn’t be drinking it.

 

“There was some three floors down in the cafeteria.” There’s a slight rigidity to Matt’s words, and Foggy can see a dull flush creeping up the back of his neck. “I happened to be stretching my legs nearby and found it.”

 

Foggy doesn’t believe a word of it. Matt hunted down a carton of orange juice, possibly using his mystical senses to seek it out, just to make Foggy happy.

 

“Best media naranja ever.” Foggy whispers, low enough that Claire can’t hear, and Matt grins at him and shrugs humbly. He’s such a sweetie.

 

“Well, I’m glad you got your juice.” Claire’s voice is warmer than it was a moment ago. “Because I’m such a good friend in addition to being a good nurse, I’d be willing to bend the visiting hours for you two. I could even get you a cot if you wanted to spend the night.”

 

Foggy practically vibrates on the bed, ecstatic at the opportunity. They haven’t slept in the same room together since the night they got ‘blackout drunk’ right after graduation. Foggy’s got a few more secrets he’d like to share. You can get drunk on orange juice, right?

 

“That’s very kind of you, but I’d have to grab things from home if I were going to spend the night. Less scratchy sheets, for one thing.” Foggy has to agree on that score. These sheets are awful. “I was thinking that I’d go home for the night, get up early and grab Foggy some clothes and supplies, and then spend the rest of the day lobbying to get him released.” Matt smirks knowingly at Foggy. “And get you an Egg McMuffin and some hash browns.”

 

Foggy groans in pleasure at the very thought.

 

“You are a god.” He informs Matt solemnly. “Very good plan.”

 

“It does sound like a good plan.” Claire agrees balmily. “Just remember to get plenty of sleep, Matt, and stay out of trouble. Foggy needs you to be here tomorrow with his Egg McMuffin.”

 

She says it very pointedly, and Foggy thinks Claire knows Matt better than he thought. The guy is constantly getting into trouble right and left and he looks way too tired right now no matter how hard he’s trying to hide it.

 

“I wouldn’t miss it for the world.” Matt assures her pleasantly. “I’ll be back soon.”

 

Foggy frowns, putting down his juice.

 

“You’re leaving already?” He asks, disappointed. “You’ve only been here for…” He glances at the rather gaudy clock on the wall. “…For about four hours, fair enough.” Matt smiles sympathetically when Foggy sighs.

 

“It will just be for a few hours, and then you’ll get your McMuffin.” Matt reassures him. “I’ll even get you some more orange juice with it to sweeten the deal.”

 

Well, it’s hard to argue with that. Foggy sort of loves his media naranja getting him…jugs o’ de naranja? No, it’s…jugo de naranja. Matt’s going to bring him jugo de naranja.

 

Hey, Foggy’s getting better at this!

 

“It had better be the biggest size they have.” Foggy commands, and Matt nods. “Okay. Goodbye fist bump?”

 

“Goodbye hug.” Matt offers mildly, and Foggy can’t say yes fast enough. Matt’s been hugging him a lot more lately, mostly after they started with Nelson and Murdock. Foggy had always thought Matt just wasn’t a big (sober) hugger and that was okay, but the last few weeks have been proving him wrong. So many hugs. It seems a bit out of character, but Foggy’s not going to complain.

 

“Bring it in, buddy.” Foggy opens his arms wide, only wincing a little when it pulls at his relatively numb tummy. Two shallow cuts, barely needed a Band-Aid, and one puncture that was…not quite as shallow. He didn’t need surgery though—just a big ol’ bag of blood and some tender loving care. “Have I ever told you that you give super hugs? They actually seem like they might be just another one of your superpowers.”

 

Matt hugs him a little tighter for a moment, and it must be a rather uncomfortable position for him to be scrunched over like this, even with Foggy sitting up all the way, but Matt just bends his knees so they’re against the mattress and hugs anyway.

 

“That’s good to know. I’ll save that superpower for you though.” Aw. Foggy beams and wiggles gleefully, stopping when he realizes that Matt can actually feel his gleeful wiggling. This seems to be one of those things that Matt just doesn’t call him out on though. Thank goodness. “Get some sleep, finish your juice, and try not to terrorize the hospital staff.”

 

“Sir, yes, sir!” Foggy salutes, already lifting his juice back up to his mouth.

 

“At ease, soldier.” Matt sighs fondly as he gets ready to go. “Claire, you’ll take care of him?”

 

“I already told you that’s my job. I take care of my patients.” She tells him again, and is seems almost like an oath. Hippocratic Oath? Is that for nurses too? “How about I walk you down to the lobby?”

 

She turns and starts to lead the way without pausing—and without leading Matt. So she probably knows about Matt’s special case in the blindness department. Matt sighs again, and it’s tired.

 

“She wants to needle me a little more, I think.” He predicts for Foggy. “We didn’t part on the best of terms. There were some differences in opinion about my lifestyle.”

 

Matt’s lifestyle is going to work at a job that helps people, drinking some alcohol but never too much, and chilling at home alone or with his small circle of friends. He’s not exactly wild and crazy. Although if he has a burner phone full of ‘complicated friends’, maybe his lifestyle is a little wackier than Foggy thought.

 

“Sorry.” Foggy says, and Matt shrugs it off. “Adios, amigo.”

 

But Matt's not saying 'adios' and Matt's not leaving. Matt’s just standing there, and he's got this weird look on his face. It reminds Foggy of that day in the gym, Matt climbing all those maze walls in his mind. What sort of maze has Matt got himself lost in this time?

 

“He hurt you. He shouldn’t have done that.” Matt muses, almost to himself. Quiero matarlo.”

 

“Hey, we’ll get the druggie and we’ll get Fisk.” Foggy promises. He thinks that’s about what Matt’s saying. He heard ‘quiero’, and he knows that means Matt wants something. Probably wants to catch Fisk, then.

 

Matt’s gotten into the habit of speaking in Spanish not only when he’s keeping a secret, but also when he’s just feeling passionate about something. That makes sense, Foggy supposes, as Spanish is a language steeped in passion. Unfortunately, Matt’s a pretty passionate guy, meaning he’s speaking Spanish a lot, often very rapidly when he’s agitated. Karen’s admitted privately (but probably still while Matt’s in earshot) that she has no idea what he’s saying most of the time either.

 

“Tu eres mi todo. No puedo vivir sin ti.” Matt murmurs thoughtfully. “That’s good to know.”

 

Well, Foggy doesn’t know, but Matt seems to mean it in a good way. Preoccupied, but good. And Foggy totally feels the same about not being killed.

 

Siento lo mismo.” He pronounces, and it’s easy by now. He’s said it so many times. Matt smile is something that burns slow, and the touch of his fingertips against Foggy's cheek feels like it's burning too. Like a brand, but Foggy leans into it instead of pulling away. It's the only part of him that doesn't hurt, that place where Matt's touching him.

 

Gracias, tesoro mío.


“Please? I’ll be really good. I’ll stay nice and inactive—not a problem for me—and I won’t poke my stitches and Matt will take really good care of me.”

 

Claire pauses. She’d been taking his vitals and ignoring his pitiful bids for freedom without missing a beat, but this time her eyes narrow. 

 

“Matt would be taking care of you?” She checks. “You’d be staying at his apartment all day and night, and he’d be there to watch you?” Foggy frowns.

 

“Well, yeah. That’s what we do. Neither one of us has been super sick in years, but we always enact the babysitting protocol if one of us is. Usually just during the day though, not—”

 

“No, I wouldn’t feel comfortable releasing you unless I knew he was going to be in the apartment to watch you all night.” Claire maintains firmly. “Constant supervision. Besides, it’s not like he has anywhere else to be at two o’clock in the morning. I’m sure he’d be happy to do it.” Foggy hesitates. “It’s the only way you’re getting out of this hospital bed today.” Claire adds casually, tapping her pen against his chart.

 

Oh, she’s good. Foggy doesn’t want to inconvenience Matt, but he really wants to get out of here.

 

“Couldn’t Karen watch me half the time?” He begs. “She’s my other friend, you met her—“

 

“Matt knows you better. It takes a very close friend to notice the subtler signs that something’s wrong. Besides, Matt won’t mind you sleeping over. He tells me all the time about how much he enjoyed being your roommate in law school.”

 

Foggy looks up, surprised and undeniably delighted.

 

“Does he really talk about that?” Claire nods. “I wasn’t the best roommate, but I tried. It might be kind of nice…Yeah. I’ll do it.” Foggy grabs his phone and dials with purpose. “No answer. Of course.” He eyes Claire carefully. “But I have a key. Matt’s going to be sleeping at home anyway—that’s probably why he’s not picking up. I can just slip in. Now. Out of the hospital. In clothes that actually cover more than the front of my body. Any time now.”

 

Claire gives him an exasperated look, but she’s scribbling something in his chart with promising deliberateness. 

 

“Do not let him out of your sight, or it’s straight back to the hospital for supervision.” She cautions, and Foggy nods eagerly. “Alright. I’ll get the paperwork.”

 

It takes forever. Foggy hates red tape. Finally though, everything’s in order. It takes Foggy even longer to convince her that he really doesn’t need her to skip her shift and escort her home, and she doesn’t need to drag Karen or Brett or anyone else out of bed either. It’s just a cab ride. He’ll be stationary the whole time.

 

He’s a little achy on the way over. This time the cuts to his stomach hurt worse than the one he got from the bombs, and he wonders if that’s because he’s got three instead of one of if it’s because these were from a knife. There’s some psychological injury there too. Still, he can manage. At least now he’s symmetrical—a cut on each side and two in the middle. They probably won’t even scar, but he still feels like a badass action hero.

 

Matt’s apartment is slightly chilled, like someone left the window open. Matt doesn’t usually do that because it makes temperature control difficult and Matt’s all about control.

 

“Matt? Hey, sorry to drop in but Claire basically forced me to sign away your freedom to guarantee my own, so—oh.” Foggy finishes faintly, eyes on Matt. “Okay.” He pulls out his phone and dials a number he only got an hour ago. “Claire, I don’t think Matt’s going to be up for babysitting me. By the by, do you have any idea how to cauterize a heavily bleeding wound in one minute or less?”

 

There’s just the briefest lull in speech, but Foggy can hear faster breathing and the thump-thump-thump of footsteps. Claire’s started to run.

 

“Got any road flares?” She asks bitterly, out of the blue, and then she keeps on talking. “No, just put pressure on it. I’ll be there in a few minutes.”

 

There’s a click as she hangs up, and then Foggy’s alone with his dying friend.

 

No, not dying. Just a little banged up. Just like Foggy was. He’ll get better. It took Foggy less than a day to vaguely recover from three knife wounds, so it should only take Matt…

 

A hell of a lot longer, if the number of wounds is proportional to recovery time.

 

“Okay, okay. Pressure. I can do that. Towel. We just need a towel.” His eyes sting like he wants to cry but can’t quite manage it. He doesn’t have time for that. He needs to save Matt. “And here you told me not to be a hero. Idiot.” 

 

Matt doesn’t answer. Foggy pretends he’s asleep instead of passed out, and that makes it easier. Easy enough to last until Claire gets there, anyway.

 

“Are you squeamish at all?” Claire asks, stepping towards Matt with no hesitation and pulling the towel away. Foggy doesn’t hesitate either, rolling up his sleeves and reaching out for the gloves Claire’s already unpacking.

 

“Not right now I’m not. Just tell me what to do.”

 

Foggy doesn’t jump when he feels a cold hand touch his arm some time later, because he knows that touch even if it’s usually warmer (more alive).

 

“Hey, Matt.” Foggy whispers, and Matt’s eyes are even less focused than normal when he smiles up at Foggy. It’s a fragile smile, and Foggy doesn’t want it to break like the rest of Matt has. “Looks like I’m sleeping over tonight.”

 

He glances over at Claire to be sure, and she nods without looking up from her work, something with tweezers that Foggy does not envy her doing. 

 

“And I didn’t even have to get drunk this time.” Matt mumbles, squeezing his hand weakly. Perdóname. Te quería contar.” He takes an unsteady breath. Por favor, no me odies. No me dejes.”

 

How is Matt able to form complete sentences in Spanish right now? He’s half-dead. Foggy looks over at Claire again in supplication for a translation. She’s finished up with the tweezers and shrugs. Foggy’s not buying it. She totally knows what Matt just said.

 

Does everyone in this goddamn city speak Spanish except for him? 

 

“Okay.” Foggy decides that’s a logical answer, and judging from the brightening of Matt’s smile, it’s a good one too.

 

“Thank you.” Matt squeezes his arm once and then faints again. There’s a moment of silence.

 

“I might need your help with the stitches. Another pair of hands is always useful.” Claire sounds almost apologetic, interrupting. Foggy forces his eyes up from Matt’s pale face and nods with a bracing smile.

 

“Is now a bad time to mention I can’t sew?” Claire laughs sharply, but it’s an obligatory gesture. “Will you please tell me what he said?” Claire hesitates. “Claire, they could be…they could be his last words.” They both swallow at the thought. “Please.”

 

She looks away, collecting the thread and the odd curved needles.

 

“He said: ‘I’m so sorry. I wanted to tell you. Please don’t…please don’t hate me. Don’t leave me.’” She looks uncomfortable, translating something that desperate and personal. “They’re not going to be his last words.”

 

Foggy flexes his gloved fingers. He can’t sew, but he can still help. He smiles down at Matt for a moment and thinks he really did give the right answer before.

 

“Okay.” 


Matt’s chatty when he’s half-dead.

 

Apparently Foggy’s in significantly better shape, and even though Claire tells Foggy halfheartedly that both of them should really be in the hospital right now, she doesn’t put up much of a fight when Foggy begs her not to call it in. They’ll ask too many questions, he knows they will, and Claire grudgingly admits that she can do what has to be done as long as Foggy stays on as her assistant.

 

They get Matt stable, and now that the blood has been sponged away Foggy thinks Matt’s not quite as hurt as Foggy had feared. Maybe only a quarter dead instead of half. He’s breathing easier, anyway, and his face is tight with pain but not with agony.

 

He’s still for most of the time, but then every so often his eyes drift open and he starts talking, fast and urgent. His hand grasps at the air until Foggy reaches out to hold it, and then Matt keeps it in a death grip while he talks like he thinks Foggy’s going to disappear if Matt gives him a chance. He’s acting like this whole thing is a deathbed confession, actually, even though Claire assured him Matt was going to survive and heal. Matt’s not quite in the right state of mind to appreciate that prognosis though. He’s out of it.

 

Matt is also talking entirely in Spanish.

 

This means either he is feeling very passionate about everything that he’s saying, or else he’s sharing secrets he doesn’t want Foggy to understand. Foggy’s not sure what secrets are left that Matt thinks he has to hide, but apparently there are a few of them.

 

Luckily Foggy has a (reluctant) translator.

 

“’You’re my best friend.’” Claire translates, sighing. “I’m sure you know that one by now. He’s said it a dozen times already.” Foggy shrugs sheepishly.

 

“It’s always nice to hear it again.” He defends. “I could use a few reminders about how much I like him so I don’t strangle him when he wakes up.” Claire nods the point. “I still want to strangle him right now, or maybe do some dramatic storming out.”

 

Matt can obviously understand English, or else he can just read the tone even in his half-conscious state, because he stares up towards Foggy with wide eyes, shaking his head weakly.

 

No me dejes.” He begs, and Foggy remembers that one. Don’t leave me. Matt keeps talking though. "Te necesito a mi lado. Te necesito, Foggy.”

 

Claire clears her throat.

 

“He says ‘I need you by my side. I need you.’” She translates awkwardly. “I didn’t know he spoke Spanish this well. He didn’t grow up in a bilingual household, did he?”

 

“Neighbors, and then some of the nuns." Foggy offers absently. "But I’m pretty sure he’s also been studying it as much as he could over the past eight-ish years just so he can learn more and drive me crazy.” He knows Matt has. He’s found textbooks in Matt’s house, although they’re all in Braille. Matt knew Foggy would find them and not be able to read them. It was just another step in his master plan to snap Foggy’s sanity, piece by piece. “And he was fluent before that.”

 

“That seems like a lot of work just to tease you.” Claire notes, perhaps a bit pointedly. Foggy shrugs.

 

“It’s the only way he can talk about feelings without pretending to be drunk.” He offers honestly. “He needs to know I can’t understand him and start asking questions.” Claire gives him a look that says quite clearly she is not impressed with this communication tactic. “Hey, it makes him happy. That’s rare enough that I take it when I can get it.”

 

“Hmm.” Claire hums noncommittally, and it’s quiet for a while because Matt’s fallen asleep again.

 

The next time Matt wakes up, his expression is a little clearer but he still seems dazed. His eyes are only half-open but his smile is warm when Foggy takes his hand.

 

"Sueño contigo. Eres mi sueño favorito, Foggy. Mi dulce ángel." He makes an exaggerated hushing sound, so oddly innocent nestled between cracked, bloody lips. "Shh, es un secreto."

 

“I’m not sure I should translate that.” Claire admits uncertainly. Foggy regards her pleadingly. Foggy knows she’s only stayed this long to translate. Matt’s stable enough that she could leave any time she wanted. “Look, this seems like something private, and he just said it was a secret. I shouldn’t be getting involved.”

 

Foggy shakes his head.

 

“But that’s not fair.” He argues. “You already know what he’s saying, so it’s not private anymore. He’s talking to me, right? Shouldn’t I know too?”

 

Claire considers him for a second, obviously wavering. Finally she sighs.

 

“He’s going to kill me for this.” She mutters in defeat. “He said: ‘I dream about you. You're my favorite dream, Foggy. My...My sweet angel.’” Foggy’s jaw drops just a little, and Claire looks away, pretending to be busy with a kit that’s been packed for hours. “And then he said it was a secret. That was the important part.” She adds, reproving.

 

“Oh, wow.” Foggy breathes. That could totally just be meant in a friendly way, because goodness knows that Matt is Foggy's favorite dream even when the dreams aren't X-Rated, but it’s extraordinarily sweet no matter what context Matt’s using it in. “Thanks, Matty.”

 

De nada. Eres mi grande avocado.” Matt adds, smile even warmer, almost cheeky even in his sleepy state. Foggy laughs. Matt seems a little more aware, which is good. Still speaking in Spanish, but good. He must be feeling a lot of feelings right now, ones he doesn't want Foggy asking questions about. Double whammy.

 

“Yeah?” Matt nods smugly, more a weak twitch of his head than anything. “What a coincidence. Eres mi media naranja.” It’s their go-to reply. One says grande avocado and one says media naranja. It always makes Foggy giggle, and Matt always grins and looks absurdly delighted by the whole thing. It makes his whole face light up.

 

“Media naranja.” Matt agrees softly, and falls back asleep with a smile on his face.

 

“’Media naranja’?” Claire repeats, voice odd. Foggy nods cheerfully, not taking his eyes off Matt’s smiling face.

 

“Don’t worry, I get that one. It’s like the cute Spanish way of saying BFF.” Foggy tells her proudly, glad that he has at least one sentence he can understand without help.

 

Claire is quiet for a very long time. When Foggy finally looks up, curious, he sees that she’s staring at Matt, expression unreadable.

 

“No.” Claire finally tells him slowly. “That’s not what media naranja means.” Foggy blinks, taken aback. “BFF would be translated as ‘mejor amigo’.” ‘Mejor amigo’ sounds like ‘major friend’, which Foggy supposes fits. “Media naranja does not mean BFF.”

 

“Yes it does.” Foggy contends firmly. “Matt said it was like salt and pepper or two halves a whole. A perfect team.” Claire nods thoughtfully.

 

“Matt’s very good at bending the truth, isn’t he?”

 

Uh-oh.


“Good morning, mi dulce diablo.” 

 

Matt winces as he opens his eyes, and Foggy doesn’t think it’s from pain. Not physical pain anyway.

 

“Buenas diaz, mi amigo?” He tries hopefully, clearly sensing this is not heading in a good direction. Foggy nods along warmly while he fairly shoves a tray of food into Matt’s hands.

 

A plain, sad, non-McDonald’s breakfast sandwich, because Foggy can’t leave the apartment to satisfy his cravings.

 

“You owe me an Egg McMuffin, you asshole.” Foggy accuses lowly, and Matt winces again. “If I hadn’t badgered Claire into taking me home, you’d never have had a chance to fulfill that debt, because you’d be dead. You’d be dead, and I’d just be sitting there in the hospital waiting for my fucking McMuffin.”

 

“I’ll buy you ten McMuffins.” Matt promises desperately. “Twenty. As many as you want.”

 

Foggy takes a deep breath to keep from actually getting to the strangling part of the program that he mentioned to Claire earlier. Matt just doesn’t get it. He seems to be an ‘all’s well that ends well’ sort of guy, and the means to that end apparently involve illegal activity and lying to his best friend.

 

“Eat the damn sandwich.” Foggy grits out. “You need the calories—I got a good look at you when I was helping Claire sew you up like you were Frankenstein’s monster, and you don’t have an ounce of fat in your body. You need a little bit of nature’s padding if you’re going to get knocked around so much.”

 

“Did you douse this thing in butter?” Matt asks warily, but he starts to eat it anyway, and makes a sound of surprise. “It’s actually good.” Foggy scowls.

 

“Screw you, I’m an amazing cook.” It was more stacking ingredients on some bread than actually cooking, but the point stands. “I’m serious though. I’m not exactly thrilled about you being an infamous criminal, but I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt here and waiting for the full story before I strangle you.” Matt looks pathetically grateful for this boon. “Now, the sleep deprivation, exhaustion, repeated physical trauma and starvation? Not. Cool. There is no excuse.”

 

“I’m not starving.” Matt protests, taking another rather hearty bite of his sandwich and belying the disgruntled statement. “I’m healthy enough to go to work every day, and I get enough sleep.”

 

Foggy crosses his arms, eyes narrowed.

 

“When is the last time you slept through the night?” He interrogates, and Matt opens his mouth to say some complete BS. “Don’t you dare lie. No more of that.”

 

Matt’s shoulders slump.

 

“I don’t even remember.” He confesses in a rueful tone. “It was a long time ago.” His cloudy expression clears a little. “No, I do remember. It was about seven years ago.”

 

Seven…years. That’s sort of insane. Matt has insomnia, sure, but seven years’ worth of it at a time? That’s crazy. He hadn’t been that way in law school. It was hard to get him to bed sometimes, and Matt had confessed later that he’d had trouble sleeping because he couldn’t stop hearing things. People talking. Songs playing. Clocks ticking.

 

Sirens.

Foggy would usually just start rambling then about random topics, partly to make Matt smile and partly to give him something familiar to hear. It usually got him to sleep pretty fast. Matt had also confessed later that Foggy’s voice was a wonderful sleep aid. Foggy thinks Matt meant it in a nice way instead of a ‘god you’re boring’ way.

 

Foggy’s voice. Seven years ago.

 

“Are you talking about the hotel?” Foggy wonders tentatively. Matt takes a rather fierce bite of the sandwich and doesn’t confirm Foggy’s theory, but that’s answer enough. He seems embarrassed and he’s definitely feeling exposed, so Foggy decides not to push too much. “Well, you’ve set a new record. You slept all night and all morning before receiving your delicious breakfast sandwich.”

 

Matt blinks.

 

“Does collapsing into unconsciousness really count as sleeping?” He wonders, and Foggy makes an ambivalent sound. It means your eyes are closed and your body is resting, so Foggy thinks it counts. “I guess it must. I remember having dreams…”

 

Foggy coughs awkwardly.

“Uh, yeah.” He agrees. “I remember that too. You were kind of narrating them to the world.”

 

Matt goes pale. He stubbornly chokes down the rest of his sandwich before he asks.

 

“Was I?” He wonders, faux-absently. Foggy nods.

 

“Yup. You were talking in Spanish, and Claire was there so...” He trails off, but Matt connects the dots anyway. He puts his plate to the side, but only so he can use his hands to cover his face. “And I have a few questions about all of that.”

 

“Can we please wait a few days?” Matt begs from behind his hands. “I’m not sure I can handle another lecture about my stupid decisions.”

 

‘Stupid decisions’? Well, that just cannot stand.

 

“It’s not a lecture.” Foggy prefaces. “But I do have something I need to say.” Matt lowers his hands and nods morosely.

 

“Make it as painless as possible, please. I doubt Claire provided us with emotional morphine.” He pleads, and Foggy snorts.

 

“You think she’d trust us with normal morphine?” He rolls his eyes. “We got Tylenol and Motrin. That’s it.” Matt grimaces. “Anyway, let’s get back to the thing I have to tell you. Ready?” Matt nods, body tense like he’s waiting to weather a storm.

 

“I’m ready.” He’s ready for the blow to fall. Foggy breathes out slowly. He can do this. He can. He’s been practicing all night.

 

“Te perdono.” He begins carefully. Matt takes a sharp breath, but says nothing. Good. If Foggy pauses, he knows he’ll lose his train of thought and have to start over. También te necesito.” Just a little more. A little more. Te…te amo.”

 

Elena was right. For just two words, it really gets a lot across. Matt sort of sways when Foggy says it, and Foggy’s worried he’s about to keel over again.

 

“Could you say that again?” Matt murmurs, face and tone indecipherable but he’s still swaying like he’s dizzy. “Please?”

 

Foggy licks his lips. Again? Can he do it again? Just the once took a whole night to build up to.

 

Te amo.” Surprisingly, it’s easier the second time. “Te amo.” Even easier the third. “Eres mi media naranja.” And he finally understands what that really means. Matt’s been saying it to him for years, and it doesn’t mean BFF.

 

It means soulmate.

 

Matt swallows hard, blinking rapidly.

 

“Claire told you what it means, didn’t she?” He whispers, eyes lowered. “You’re saying it differently.”

 

Foggy shakes his head, smile faint but giddy. There. He said it. No matter what happens now, he can say he tried.

 

“I’m saying it the way I’ve always said it.” Foggy tells him firmly. “You’re my half orange, Matt. It sounds much classier in Spanish, but it’s true either way. I wish I’d put that on our sign. Nelson and Murdock: Attorneys at Law and Avocados for Life and Oranges in Love. It would be a bit much to squeeze onto business cards, but we could make it work. NMALALOL. See? That’s a catchy acronym.” It’s a train wreck of an acronym. Foggy will work on it. There's got to be someone you can hire for making catchy acronyms, right? “Oh, that’s assuming you love me too, the whole Oranges in Love thing. So. If you do.” 

 

He waits with baited breath. He shouldn’t be this nervous—he thinks he knows that Matt’s going to say. It’s just that there’s this slight sliver of doubt because Matt hasn’t actually said it yet.

 

También te amo.” Matt confesses softly. “Te adoro, mi grande avocado.”

 

 Foggy’s no genius, but he’s guessing ‘adoro’ is ‘adore’. ‘Avocado’ is…’avocado’. It needs no explanation, although Claire had temporarily devastated him by informing him that the right word was actually ‘aguacate’.

 

That’s silly though. Matt’s not his aguacate. Matt’s his avocado.

 

Siento lo mismo por ti.” Foggy says the last two words smugly. “See? I added ‘for you’ just to add a little oomph.” Claire had been concerned he had a concussion when it took so long for Foggy to learn the few words he needed to tell Matt. ‘Te perdono’ took the longest, which seems appropriate on several levels considering Foggy's current stance on forgiveness. “I can totally rock Spanish if I have the right incentive. I mean, it’s never going to be really useful because all the phrases I’m planning to learn will have no place outside of my conversations with you, so it’s not like I can tell a client that I amo them or tell Karen that I deseo her or—“

 

“No, you will definitely not be saying that you desire Karen.” Matt cuts in smoothly. Foggy nods agreeably.

 

“Nope. You’re the only one I deseo.” Foggy soothes. “I promise.” Matt smiles at him. “See, I was about to ask you how to say ‘kiss me’, just to make things official, but I don’t want you doing anything really active right now.”

 

It’s meant at least a little to be teasing, because Foggy’s still a wee bit ticked about the whole lying thing, but Matt also really should not be moving.

 

Matt’s moving.

 

"Just a quick one. Besame.” He bargains, and he’s just sort of crawling his way across the couch. It’s ridiculous and he totally going to pull his stitches and this isn’t the sexy prowling sort of crawling—it’s kind of like watching a caterpillar wiggling towards a particularly juicy leaf, actually. In any case, it’s not good for anyone involved, so Foggy stops more ridiculous motions of any kind by leaning over for a very brief, very light, very non-stitch-pulling kiss.

 

“There. That’s it. Just one.” He clarifies when Matt leans up again. “Matt, seriously. I’m not a juicy leaf.”

 

Matt pauses, but seems to decide that this odd statement is not worth pursuing when kissing is the alternative.

 

Besame.” And Foggy thinks he’s figured out how to say ‘kiss me’ in Spanish, just guessing from the way Matt’s throwing the word around. “One more?” Foggy gives the one more, but he steps away before Matt can snag him for about a dozen more.

 

“Nuh-uh.” He chides. “You are going to take a few days off work, and you’re going to eat everything I put in front of you and get at least eight hours of sleep a night, and when you’re not in danger of literally splitting at the seams, then you will get another kiss.”

 

He thinks he’ll last maybe an hour before he caves and kisses Matt again, but he can at least pretend he’s got willpower.

 

“I can’t just take a few days off.” Matt protests. “Not at work and not…”

 

“Not as a vigilante brawler who everyone thinks is a crazy homicidal bomber?” Foggy offers helpfully and Matt scowls. “For the record, I’m still not cool with that. I wouldn’t be cool with it anyway, but I am especially not cool with it if it costs you a liter of blood every time you go out.”

 

“If I’d lost a liter, I’d be in the hospital right now. Claire’s not a miracle worker.” Matt corrects him. “A pint at most.”

 

Foggy’s not buying it. He’s seen what a pint of blood looks like because he’s given blood. Matt lost more than a pint.

 

“I thought we were going to have to do a Mad Max transfusion.” Foggy confesses, a wee bit embarrassed. “I told Claire I was O negative if she needed a blood bag but she didn’t seem impressed by the proposed sacrifice. Actually, she called me an idiot and told me to watch fewer movies and read more books on first aid.”

 

Matt’s lips quiver for a few moments and Foggy knows he’s hiding a laugh.

 

“Well, I’m very impressed.” He offers kindly. “I’ll try not to need a transfusion in the future though. Last night was an anomaly. I don’t think I’ll be fighting many opponents with kyoketsu-shoge in the future.”

 

Foggy’s guessing these are very big, very sharp weapons.

 

“Yeah, let’s avoid those.” He agrees quickly. “You’ve already got way too many scars.”

 

Matt stiffens, gaze darting downwards and hand drifting up towards where the worst cut is on his chest.

 

“Do I?” He murmurs. “I don’t really count them.” He hesitates. “Frankenstein’s monster, huh?”

 

Totally the wrong comparison to make, Foggy thinks with a pang of guilt and sick regret. Matt looks shy but not in the cute way. Unhappy. Embarrassed. Ashamed.

 

“No, no. I like them!” Foggy blurts out inanely and Matt looks startled. “I mean, not that you got hurt getting them, but they’re okay. I actually saw a couple that look like the Libra star constellation, and then there’s this one under your belly button that actually looks like an arrow pointing straight down towards fun town, so that actually gave me a pretty good laugh. It’s a very helpful hint, thank you.”

 

Matt’s eyes widen and he immediately begins to feel out this inadvertently smutty scar. Foggy has the victory of seeing Matt’s face redden rather attractively once he sees that Foggy is totally not lying, it’s really there.

 

“Fantastic.” He mutters crossing his arms over his stomach like he’s trying to cover it up.

 

“No, come on.” Foggy urges, disappointed. “I like it. I won’t have to stop and ask for directions—you know how much I hate doing that.” Matt glares and Foggy decides it’s time to sober up a little. “I really do like them. I’m kind of looking forward to mapping them all out. You were still wearing pants, so there’s a whole new frontier to explore, you know?”

 

He can’t help but add a little humor, but he means it. He can’t wait. Well, he can and he will because Matt’s hurt, but the enthusiasm is totally there.

 

Matt smiles, and this time it’s the good kind of shy. Foggy thinks a lot of people don’t get to see the shy side of Matt, and for some reason that makes Foggy really happy. He’s really quite selfish, he thinks idly. He wants Matt’s Spanish and Matt’s shyness and Matt’s scars all to himself.

 

“I like the sound of that. I never really got the chance…” He waves towards Foggy’s form. Yeah, not much chance to grope Foggy’s body while they were doing the no-homo-do-si-do.

 

“You are totally going to get the chance.” Foggy’s just the slightest bit worried because he’s not so much to look at and he doubts he’s that much to feel at, but he knows deep down that Matt won’t care—no, Matt will like it. That’s the way Matt works. He finds these things and he just loves them unconditionally, almost obsessively. Foggy’s one of those things, and that’s a good feeling. It’s also a lot of pressure, trying to live up to Matt’s rosy perceptions, but Foggy likes it. It makes him try harder.

 

“But not now.” Matt checks cautiously, wheedling, and Foggy snorts in reply.

 

“Oh, no.” He confirms with a certain amount of glee. “But since we’ve got all this time to kill, how about we have a talk about your life choices, Matt? A nice long dialogue.” Matt swallows. “The last time we tried this, you said you couldn’t make a case for the masked man, and I wholeheartedly agreed. Let’s hope that’s changed, hmm?”

 

Judging by the look on Matt’s face, this dialogue is going to involve babbling on his part and stony silence on Foggy’s, possibly with some incredulous interjections from Foggy about the weird stuff (and there’s going to be weird stuff, Foggy can feel it) and sheepish elaboration from Matt.

 

This should be fun.


Foggy spends exactly one week being mad at Matt.

 

He’s not furious, not like he’s actually considering strangling Matt or at least shoving him. It’s more a matter of principle. Matt’s lied a lot and Matt’s done a lot of things that Foggy disagrees and/or disapproves of, and even though Foggy’s going to forgive him eventually he’s got to have a little bit of a sulk, just to keep up appearances.

 

He thinks a week is fair. Matt’s been lying to him since he first tackled his problems and faced them head-on—literally, as it turns out—which means that he’s been lying to Foggy for about seven years. One day for each year. That seems fair.

 

There’s also the fact that if Foggy’s angry at Matt, it’s easier to resist pushing him against a wall and making out with him like they’re a couple of horny teenagers. Matt’s hiding a limp and Foggy winces occasionally when he stretches, so athletic kissing sessions are not a good idea.

 

Matt won’t even let Foggy have his sulk in peace though.

 

“You cannot keep buying me orange juice every day.” Foggy groans, but he takes the bottle anyway. Matt beams at him. “I might get an overdose of vitamin C. I actually Googled this, Matt. I could get kidney stones. You already stress me out on a daily basis. I could get kidney stones from the stress and the C—no. I could get a kidney tombstone.”

 

Matt could at least have the grace to look guilty for setting into motion Foggy’s demise by way of kidney tombstones. Instead, he looks quite pleased with himself.

 

“But we have a cure available.” He guides patiently. “If you forgive me then you’ll spend less time being upset and that will reduce stress. I won’t have to bribe you with orange juice anymore, which will reduce your vitamin C intake. Ah, and we'll save money on groceries since I won't have to buy the fresh-squeezed organic anymore. It’s an elegant solution, isn’t it?”

 

“Or I could just stop drinking the orange juice and take a long vacation to get away from my real stressor: you.” Foggy points out just to be contrary, but he’s already uncapping the cute minuscule bottle of orange juice and taking a sip. “We could at least switch the orange theme up a little. A Creamsicle or something.” Matt looks quite morose at this criticism of his offering. Foggy sighs. “Or you could just get me an actual orange next time. Half an orange, maybe.” He adds meaningfully.

 

He regrets the offer a moment later. Matt’s expression of dawning inspiration and joy makes it clear that Foggy is going to be splitting an orange a day with Matt for the rest of his life.

 

Foggy is going to get so sick of oranges, but he’ll probably choke them down anyway. That’s what you do for your media naranja. You gorge yourself on citrus fruit and give yourself kidney tombstones to make them happy. It’s in the contract Foggy doesn’t remember signing.

 

“You’re not mad at me anymore, are you?” How Matt knew that Foggy’s resolve was weakening, Foggy has no clue. He seems quite certain (and correct) in his assessment though. “Fantastic. I’m feeling much healthier too, and your stomach is healing very nicely.”

 

He’s totally angling. Foggy is unimpressed by the persuasion but grudgingly impressed by Matt’s tenacity. Every day Foggy’s gotten orange juice and every day he’s gotten offers of amorous activities on any surface of his choice. Most of them are horizontal surfaces, which might be because Matt hasn't been able to stand up straight without wincing, but Matt's sure that sex is the answer to all his problems. 

 

It’s a game by this point. Matt offers, Foggy rolls his eyes and refuses, Matt tries again tomorrow.

 

“That I am.” Foggy agrees easily. “And you’ve been eating and sleeping and doing everything I asked, so I think it’s time for that reward I promised you.”

 

Oh, the look on Matt’s face. Foggy really should have snapped a picture and framed it. It’s just blank shock for a moment as this offer computes, jaw a bit slack and eyes comically wide. It shouldn’t be as attractive as it is. Slack-jawed and bug-eyed should not be endearing.

 

The smile that dawns on Matt’s face afterwards, though? That’s a Kodak moment, pure and simple. Foggy does snap a picture of that one, slipping his phone quickly back into his pocket and planning to set it as his new wallpaper later. Nice.

 

“Really?” It’s a token gesture. He’s already moving forward. Foggy holds out a hand to stop him.

 

“You are not folding yourself in half just for a kiss.” He orders, standing so Matt doesn’t have to bend over. “You’ll open all your cuts again and then Claire’s going to yell at me.”

 

“She won’t.” Matt soothes, carefully wrapping his arms around Foggy. He’s savoring the moment, Foggy thinks. “She’ll yell at me.”

 

She’ll probably yell at both of them. Foggy already knows that he’s going to be getting first aid manuals in his Christmas stocking this year, probably with a bootleg DVD of Mad Max just to rub salt in the wound. He doesn’t need more humiliation.

 

“If you pull your stitches, I’ll be yelling right with her.” Foggy warns him. Matt nods agreeably, running an exploratory hand up Foggy’s back. “I’ll also yell at you if you don’t get a move on and kiss me.” Foggy adds for Matt’s benefit.  Matt doesn’t need telling twice. In fact, he takes to the task with admirable enthusiasm. A few kisses in, Matt’s managed to cop one good feel before something important filters through Foggy’s hazy mind.

 

“Fuck, the blinds.” He looks over towards the main office. As feared, Karen is very deliberately facing away from Matt’s office. Her shoulders are also shaking with laughter.

 

“Or you could fuck the blind man.” Matt offers, the sassy little thing. “We can afford to take the afternoon off, can't we?" We can’t even afford the air we breathe in our current financial situation. Foggy tries to say it but Matt's still talking. "Come on, Foggy. Quiero hacerte el amor. We can follow that lovely arrow you pointed out before, see where it leads. I bet you've got one to match now. I want to feel. Por favor, mi ángel?

 

"You're not even Spanish, you faker. Or Mexican, or Argentinian, or any other ethnicity that gives you any right to speak Spanish like a stupid sex god." Foggy points out bitterly, ignoring the flush that's already rising to his cheeks at that stupid, unfairly appealing purr. "You're abusing a noble people's heritage by reducing their majestic language to dirty talk. For shame, Mr. Murdock." 

 

But Matt’s kissing him again and that is a very compelling argument for taking the afternoon off and putting aside his grumpiness for a few hours, even if Matt is desecrating the Spanish language by turning it into a rather tacky deadly weapon. It's appropriating a culture, is what it is. Honestly, it's disrespectful and lewd and...

 

Christ, Matt has a talented tongue. Let the desecration commence. 

 

“Mm. You taste like oranges.” Matt sighs happily, and Foggy rolls his eyes and leans away to toss away the empty juice bottle.

 

“And whose fault is that?” Matt does not seem appropriately guilty. He’s just smirking and even as Foggy watches he licks his lips like he’s still trying to taste the orange. Foggy’s heart maybe speeds up by one beat per minute and Matt looks like he’s just won an Oscar for Best Leading Tease. “Don’t look so smug or I might decide you need a few more weeks to recuperate.”

 

Matt doesn’t seemed overly cowed, although he does soften the smirk.

 

“Not smug.” Matt corrects him. “Excited and grateful for the opportunity to be with the man I love.”

 

Oh. Love. That’s the first time either one of them has said it in English to each other. It’s…nice. Amazingly, it’s about as breathtaking to hear in English as it is in Spanish.

 

“Yeah, so am I.” Foggy admits. “One afternoon won’t hurt.”

 

Of course, this is probably going to be the afternoon that Tony Stark wanders in and offers to pay them a million dollars to defend him against a parking ticket, but that won’t happen unless they leave. A watched pot never boils.

 

Te amo, mi media naranja.” Matt says it as easily as breathing, and now that Foggy thinks about it? He always has since that very first time. Love also seems to be a language that Matt’s fluent in, as corny as it sounds. At least he's not appropriating that one. No, Matt's clearly a native.

 

Foggy beams at him, holding out his arm for Matt to take.

 

Mẽ tenū̃ piār kardā hā̃.” Matt freezes, hand outstretched.

 

“Did you just—Was that Punjabi?” Matt wonders, stunned. Foggy’s the one who gets to be smug now as he hums an agreement. “I've never heard you speak Punjabi. Ever. It—what did you just say?”

 

“’I love you.’” Foggy translates cheerfully. “Doesn’t roll off the tongue as easily as ‘te amo’ does, but it’s fun to try something new. Like anything other than orange juice.” He shoots the bottle in the trashcan a grimace.

 

“I thought you’d forgotten it all.” Matt’s voice is a little huskier and he seems dazed, and it takes Foggy a second to recognize the look on Matt's face. He's seen it in the mirror a few times, mostly back in Columbia when Matt slipped past him to steal Foggy's toothpaste because he was too lazy to buy his own. And Foggy had just stood there like an idiot and let him, because Matt had squeezed his elbow on the way past and called him 'encantador' and...

 

“Oh my god, Punjabi’s your Spanish.” Foggy is completely delighted by this revelation. Revenge will be sweet. “You think it’s hot.

 

“I—“ Matt can’t quite seem to muster up the energy to lie, maybe because he’s too busy being weak-kneed from Foggy speaking Punjabi. “I thought you weren’t good with languages. You failed every Spanish lesson I ever gave you.”

 

Foggy nods, gleeful.

 

“Exactly. I suck at Spanish. I was actually vaguely okay at Punjabi—at least okay enough that it didn’t crash my GPA and keep me from graduating. It’s a niche language, sure, but you never know when it might come in handy. Very, ah, handy.

 

“Mm-hmm.” Matt agrees rather nonsensically. “That sounded…You speak Punjabi?” He can’t quite seem to process that part. Well, his head can’t process it—the rest of his body seems to be processing it at warp speed, Foggy notes with a pleased glance down. 

 

Hā̃, thōṛā jihā. Foggy admits humbly, and stands back to watch the fireworks. Matt licks his lips again, and this time Foggy doesn’t think it’s a purposeful move for Foggy’s benefit. Matt looks kind of like he just got hit by the lust bus. “Tēra havarkrāft nāngā̃ nāɭ pàriā piā."

 

“What did you say?” Matt whispers, eyes wide with wonder.

 

“’Your hovercraft is full of eels.’” Foggy chirps, and it really is remarkable that Matt still seems just turned on as he was before Foggy translated. He laughs too though, and Foggy just knows he’s got the charming little crinkles around his eyes. He has to check, so he carefully reaches out and tugs off Matt’s glasses. Matt’s still chuckling softly, not wary at all about Foggy touching him like Foggy sees Matt get with so many other people. He’s grinning and flushed and he finally looks vaguely healthy again for the first time in months. He looks happy. Foggy makes him happy. “Tuhānū mēra dildar hana.”

 

Matt’s still grinning.

 

“Alright, what does that one mean?” He asked, good-naturedly curious—and still almost worryingly aroused considering Foggy was just talking about eels. “Let me guess. ‘Do you want to come back to my place, bouncy-bouncy?’”

 

Monty Python nerd. Foggy shakes his head, smiling and reaching out to take Matt’s hand. He’ll give the glasses back in a second in case Matt wants to hide from the world again, but just for now, just for a few seconds… 

 

“Actually, ‘tuhānū mērī rūha nū sāthī hana’ means ‘you are the keeper of my heart’.” Foggy corrects him quietly. “I think the ‘I love you’ in that one is implied, but just in case: I love you.” It feels good to say in any language, really. Foggy might start dabbling in French or Italian and add a bit more Romance to their romance, a few more ways to say 'I love you'. Matt’s laughter fades to something awed and quiet but still so, so happy.

 

Siento lo mismo por ti, mi grande avocado.