Foggy’s a good guy. The best, actually; but that’s never been in contention. What is though, is whether Matt deserves to have someone like Foggy in his life (knowing the answer does nothing when he’s a fan of rehashing old turmoils).
Foggy's entering the building. Matt swallows his thoughts, ignores their bitter aftertaste and lets a pencil keep his hands busy.
Karen jumps up from her chair, Foggy’s coat in her arms the moment he steps into the office. Matt sits straighter in his chair on impulse. Forget the sulking and stewing in his cocktail of guilt and moping— now with a dusting of Not Jealousy; whatever’s been playing out on his face has to go.
Foggy’s a grown man— he can choose who he wants to lend his coat to. It’s not his fault Matt’s feelings got bruised over Karen’s gradual replacement over him as lendee of Foggy’s Fine Belongings. And Karen’s a perfectly deserving candidate; it's not her fault if she can’t fully appreciate the soothing warmth or detail every intricate scent that makes up Foggy in his coats and scarves, and it’s definitely not like she’s any less grateful than Matt is. The latter’s clear as day in the thrum of her pulse.
Matt knows it’s silly, but he misses when he was the only person Foggy lent his coats to, when they’d smell like a mix of Foggy and him and no one else. It felt nice, like he was in on a secret no one else knew, where they had each other’s backs— quite literally, considering how Foggy’s coat always warmed his back to the point he had to bite his lip to keep all those sighs in.
Get it together, Murdock. This is getting out of hand.
“There's a freshly brewed pot of liquid gold, if His Highness’ delicate stomach is up for it. And hey, thanks for the coat. Real lifesaver against yesterday’s cold snap.”
“Oh, game on, Miss Page. I’ll have you know your coffee has only served to fortify my gut of steel. And you’re welcome. You sure you don’t need it again tonight? I know yours is getting a little thin.” Foggy pops a day-old bagel into the toaster oven before the air fills with the sharp smell of coffee.
“Nope, I’m good. Going to get a new one later but thank you, really.”
“Just let me know if you need a scarf or gloves, I’ve got extras.” The face Foggy pulls after taking a sip from a mug earns him a well-placed flick on the arm, and his yelp a snicker.
Matt shifts in his chair. Listening in on their conversation doesn't feel quite as wrong as reading the genuine warmth that sits between them: Foggy's easy posture, the careful way Karen cradled Foggy’s coat before returning it. Matt takes off his glasses and pinches the bridge of his nose.
It’s the third time in two weeks that Karen’s borrowed something from Foggy: cardigan, scarf, now coat. Granted, Foggy was always the one who offered first, but. No, there's no but. Matt can't decide if that makes it better or worse. He briefly entertains the fantasy of ruining his own coat so Foggy would lend him his. Just one more time, one more time to lose himself in a symphony of sweetness and sunshine and pretend he was the only one who got to borrow Foggy’s everything.
If only they were roommates again, with unfettered access to his favorite T-shirt, the incredibly soft one Foggy always offered with a smile and a “it's yours for as long as you need it, buddy” whenever Matt had a bad day. He wore it for two weeks straight after Elektra left, until everything smelled so rank he couldn’t make up phantom Foggy scents anymore.
Foggy wouldn't have said anything if Matt conveniently forgot to return it, but it wasn’t just about the shirt. Foggy always offered, and Matt’s chest always swelled three sizes in gratitude. He once asked Foggy what color it was. “Pale yellow,” he had said, and Matt had wondered if this shade was close to the highlights in Foggy’s hair.
His pencil lands with a clatter on the desk when Foggy knocks on his door.
“Hey buddy, you doing okay? You seem a little...” Foggy waves a vague hand over his own face.
Matt stops before his smile gets too thin to be convincing. “I’m fine, Foggy, just tired I guess. Are, uh—” Great. Now he’s got to finish the question. His tongue darts out for a quick second. Foggy’s waiting.
“I couldn’t help overhearing you two earlier. You gonna leave your spare coat in the office? Or uh, are you planning to go all Stay Puft and wear both on your way home tonight?” What the hell was that? Matt cringes.
“Why, somebody’s making fun of my chub, I see.”
“N-no I didn’t mean it that way!” Matt leans so far out of his chair his desk is digging into him. “I like your chub, it’s very...chubby.” Well, somebody’s on a roll here. “You’re great, is all I meant,” Matt eventually mutters behind his double face palm.
Foggy chuckles. “I know. I like watching you stick your foot in your mouth.”
“I think I’ll leave it here until the end of the week.” Forget the mild confusion in Foggy’s answer; Matt’s mind is already somewhere else. Maybe he doesn’t have to ruin his coat after all.
“...up for joining us at Josie’s tonight?”
“Huh? Uh, no, you guys go on without me, I have to settle some things.” There. Patting his laptop meaningfully should help bolster his vague excuse, right?
“Okay then,” Foggy says, and that’s that.
It’s infuriating how much faster his work gets done when he’s trying to stretch them out. Matt shuffles papers, rearranges the items on his desk several times, putters around his tiny office, realizes he probably looks like an idiot and then finally sits his ass down and surfs the internet like a normal person until Foggy and Karen head out.
Matt stays in his seat five whole minutes after they leave in case they need to make a detour, fingers drumming a restless rhythm of just this once just this once on his thigh the whole time.
He slinks out of his office and stops in front of the coat rack, back rigid and shoulders tense, until picking apart Foggy’s scent from everything else and inhaling it off his coat is no longer enough. Matt grabs it, rubs it against his cheek and lets out a sound halfway between guttural and feather-light. He puts it on before making his way to the couch in Foggy’s office, sinking into a cloud of Foggy, Foggy, Foggy.
Every single article of clothing Foggy has lent him since their second semester has been captured in vivid detail: the well-worn wool gloves with a tiny hole in the ring finger on the left hand, the bomber jacket with leather details that had a slight snag in the zipper, that scarf with tassels that knotted themselves into clumps...
Matt goes through all of them again until he dozes off.
It’s an hour to daylight when Matt wakes up. He stretches, lingers a little too long when he hangs Foggy’s coat back on the rack, then takes a hot shower when he gets back to his apartment, all to chase a warmth that’s long gone.
He doesn’t mean to, but somehow extra work finds its way to his desk for the rest of the week. It’s embarrassing, really. Matt still makes time for the city, but between the coat-burrowing and the patrols there’s less of it for dinner and sleep. Doesn’t matter, it’s all worth it.
The mood is almost somber on his final night. After mournfully hanging it back on the rack, he spends a good five minutes rooted to the spot, fingers caressing the fabric in an almost reverent manner (a goodbye of sorts in case he doesn’t get to wear it again— yes, dramatic ), cataloging details to his vault.
Doing things he doesn't mean to becomes a pattern Matt refuses to acknowledge when he inadvertently finds himself on the roof of Foggy’s apartment building the following night. In his defense, he wasn't expecting Foggy to leave Brett and Bess’ place when he did, smelling like well, that . The mingled aroma of Bess’ monthly dinner roasts and Foggy was a knockout punch Matt never stood a chance against.
Matt thuds his billy clubs against his head and sighs. The obscene amount of dried pigeon droppings is the only thing stopping him from reflecting about his life choices twenty five feet above his best friend.
He doesn’t hesitate to say yes a week later when Foggy suggests they all continue with work back at his apartment. There’s pizza and beer and everything else that spells the familiar balminess Matt would get to unabashedly call home if this was Columbia. Or if… no. No. He doesn’t get to be melancholic about an offer he turned down with nonsense excuses for an apartment with roof access. For Daredevil. He made his bed, he’s got to lie in it.
Matt stays after Karen packs up and leaves, after he runs his fingers over the same paragraph five times and absorbs nothing, after he's too tired to stifle his yawns anymore, all so he can play pretend a little longer.
“You can crash here if you’d like.” Foggy takes a final swig from his bottle before making his way to the kitchen.
Yes. Yes please. “That's okay, I’ll just grab my things and leave,” is what comes out instead. Of course. If he wasn't too tired to tell a convincing fib he would have said something about not meaning to lose track of time.
“I’m not tired,” Foggy says over his shoulder as he grabs two more bottles of beer from the fridge.
“I wasn’t about to insinuate that,” Matt juts his lower lip out since Foggy’s not back yet.
“Thank you,” Matt concedes, cold beer in hand, and doesn’t let himself dwell on what exactly he’s thankful for, because there would be no stopping once he started.
Matt’s dreaming. He’s got to be, because this is not what his bed smells like. Home only smells like this in his dreams. His pillow and sheets never smell like the passion fruit shower gel Foggy’s been using since college, and— this isn’t his pillow. Or a bed. He slowly feels along the edge of Foggy’s couch just to be sure.
Matt trails his fingers along the seam of the fleece blanket he’s under and smiles giddily when he realizes it’s the one from law school. Judging by the smell and frayed edges, Foggy still uses it every night. There’re two more blankets on top of it, thicker, adding a comfortable weight. He doesn’t remember last night being so cold, but he’s not complaining.
Matt burrows deeper under the blankets and stays there, shushes the tiny voice of unease and tries to milk the moment for all it's worth.
“Good morning, sunshine. I know you’re up,” Foggy says, voice still thick with sleep. He pads out of his bedroom and sits on the edge of the couch.
“How’d you know?” Time's up.
“Lucky guess, actually,” Foggy’s grin is interrupted by a yawn. Matt sits up, still clinging on to the fleece blanket, and pats the empty space next to him. Foggy sinks down with a grunt.
“What happened last night?” Matt rubs the back of his head, already impressive bedhead be damned. He gives a lopsided smile at Foggy’s huff of laughter.
“Somebody’s turning two soon, I guess. Judging by the way you conked out after insisting between yawns that you weren’t tired.”
“I didn’t want to trouble...” A yawn interrupts his frown. “Did you have enough blankets for yourself last night?”
“Is this your way of asking why you’re under three of them?”
“Um. But I also wanted to make sure I wasn't hogging all the blankets?”
Foggy chuckles. “Yeah, no. It wasn't a repeat of The Heater Incident.”
“That was an honest accident! I didn't mean to steal them and leave you to sleep in multiple coats and socks!”
“And I'm sorry I kicked you in the shin,” he mumbles.
“All those movies shouldn’t have made bed-sharing seem so cozy. Keeping warm, my ass.” Foggy adds darkly.
“So,” Matt indicates at the blankets.
“Foggy. You know your pauses for dramatic effect hold no sway over me,” Matt says when Foggy doesn't say anything else.
“I know about my coat.”
“Coat?” They both know this isn’t a dig at Foggy’s intelligence, and Foggy is kind enough not to call Matt out for what it really is.
“The nose knows,” Foggy says after a moment, after Matt rearranges his features into something remotely resembling composure.
“What?” Fidgety fingers resume their little dance once his hand slips beneath the fleece blanket.
“Okay maybe not just the nose. Eyes too, but mostly the nose.” Matt can’t decipher that note in Foggy’s voice and the involuntary sound that escapes his own throat.
“You were acting weird. Gazing forlornly at our coat rack, working late, you get the idea. And um, my coat kinda smelled like you when I finally took it home.”
“You...know my smell?” How he even managed to get his mouth to work is a miracle. Foggy recognizes my smell. Foggy recognizes my s—
“I may not have super senses, but give me some credit. We did live together.” Foggy snorts. “Why didn’t you say anything?” His voice is soft now, softer than the shirt that got Matt through everything bad, and he wants nothing more than to wrap himself in both. Deep inside, something wrenches itself free.
“And say what, exactly? ‘Hey Foggy, I know I could just ask anytime but I really miss when you’d offer me your coats and sweaters, and I miss trying not to act like that creep who sniffs every inch of fabric when I’d put them on because they’ve always smelled like home’? ‘And I know I shouldn’t regret not sharing an apartment with you but sometimes I really do’?” His hands are all clammy against the fleece now. That last part wasn’t supposed to slip out.
A quiet “Matty” is the only warning he receives before getting wrapped in his favorite thing in the world. Matt finally lets go of Foggy’s blanket and returns the hug.
“So. You really like how I smell. Huh.” Foggy muses over cheerios later.
Matt makes a show of hiking up the collar of his shirt ("yeah, the yellow's a little similar to my highlights, except they're a shade more mesmerizing") until it covers half his face before he takes a deep drag and exhales. “Yup,” he smirks.
Actually, it’s everything else too: sweetness and sunshine and belonging , but he can't quite find the right words for it. Good thing he’s got the next several months to figure it out.
“You’re lucky you’ve got good timing, Murdock. I wouldn’t be so willing to trudge up twelve flights of stairs— not a word about free exercise— if my lease wasn’t ending. Oh, and we’re definitely getting curtains. I’m not subjecting my retinas to that glaring abomination outside your window.”
Matt is grinning too hard to care that he’s chewing with an open mouth. “‘Shure, anything for you, ‘oggy.” He’s finally gets to call his apartment ‘home’, and it’s finally going to smell like it. It’s going to feel like it. He grins harder.
Foggy tries and fails to hide his smile behind a grunt. Everything is glorious. “Yeah, yeah. Eat your damn breakfast, Sniffy McSnifferson.”