Of course they're both drunk when it happens.
Foggy's just won his first major case for HC&B, a six-figure settlement for a family whose daughter died due to a chemical company's negligence. He's aware that there was more going on than one family's tragedy: Hogarth had been cagier than usual, and Jones had been almost gleeful looking at the stack of file boxes they'd received during discovery. Still, Foggy focused on the case at hand, and absolutely demolished the defendant's witnesses during deposition. Their lawyer, a prick he recognized from Landman & Zack, didn't even try to to argue when Foggy offered a cash settlement to avoid trial; he was already thinking ahead to the criminal case ADA Tower was holding over his head.
He calls Karen on his way out of the office, offering to take her out for drinks in celebration, but she doesn't pick up. He leaves a voicemail, assuming she's chasing down a story, or maybe out with her new boyfriend, who she very deliberately never mentions by name. Foggy originally thought she was secretly seeing Matt again, but when he broached that subject one evening, she shook her head.
"Matt and I weren't in love with each other, not really. We were both in love with someone we wanted the other to be," she’d said, voice sad but not regretful. "I'm not willing to change who I am to fit into someone else's box. Or on their pedestal," she'd added, the corners of her mouth twitching up into a wry smile.
He scrolls down to the M's, deciding Marci would probably be up for a few drinks, but he misses her name, touching the one just below it instead: Matt. They haven't talked regularly since Nelson & Murdock went under, but it hasn't been radio silence either. Foggy texts him links to conspiracy theories about Daredevil (so far, none connecting him to a certain blind lawyer, for which Foggy is incredibly grateful), while Matt seems to be handing out Foggy's business card like candy to the poor and downtrodden, occasionally sending him a heads-up before they appear at reception at HC&B.
Foggy could hang up and call Marci like he intended. If he does it quick enough, Matt's phone might not even ring, sparing them both an embarrassing conversation. But by the time he makes a decision, it's already rung twice, and Foggy's plausible deniability is gone.
Matt doesn't pick up by the fourth ring, and Foggy's heart sinks. Of course Matt won't answer; he's probably lying dead in a ditch somewhere. Or worse, he doesn't want to talk to Foggy at all. Foggy spends the next few seconds composing a voicemail in his head; it can't be too friendly, because that's not how they are any more, but Foggy's never been able to stay detached when it comes to Matt. He's settled on a no-frills "Just wanted to see how you've been," when Matt says, "Foggy?" and completely blows his equilibrium.
Neither of them seem to know how to fill the silence that stretches between them. Foggy has never been at a loss for words around Matt Murdock; since he walked into Foggy's life all those years ago with his stupid fluffy hair and Thurgood Marshall quotes, it's all Foggy can do to keep the words in. For a second he thinks that maybe Matt hung up, but he can still hear his breathing on the other end of the line. Maybe this was a bad idea.
They start speaking at almost the exact same time, and the misstep eases the tension. "Sorry," Matt says. "You called me. You go first."
Foggy swallows and nods. "I was thinking about grabbing a drink, and uh, wondered if you were busy."
"Yeah, I--I heard about the Allan Pharma case. Congratulations."
"Thanks," he says, glancing around at the people walking past him on the sidewalk, wondering--not for the first time--whether Matt has been keeping an eye on him.
They lapse into silence again, as Foggy joins the horde of people crossing the street. It isn't until he's safely across that Matt speaks again. "I'm not busy tonight, if you want to meet up somewhere."
Foggy takes a deep breath. He can't suggest Josie's--that wound is a little too raw. "There's a decent place down the block from Shake Shack that hasn't been invaded by hipsters yet."
"I think I know the place--the one next to the Japanese restaurant, right?"
Foggy nods, then reflexively says, "I just nodded. Which you wouldn't know anyway, because we're on the phone."
Matt laughs, and oh shit, Foggy's heart kicks up to double time. He's fucking missed that laugh. "I appreciate the narration, Foggy. I always have." It's too heavy, and Matt seems to realize it as soon as the words are out of his mouth, because he barely stops for a breath before saying, "Anyway, I can meet you there in twenty minutes?"
"Yeah, I'll see you there," Foggy says. They exchange perfunctory good-byes, but Foggy's barely paying attention. He crosses against the light, avoiding the traffic like only a born-and-bred New Yorker can, and makes it to the bar in five minutes, Matt's words ringing in his ears. He'd stayed at the office late enough that the happy hour crowd has thinned out, and he has no trouble flagging the bartender down. "Shot of Jameson, please, and two of whatever your draft special is," he orders, handing the woman his credit card and telling her to leave the tab open.
The burn of the whiskey helps settle his nerves, and he takes the beers to a newly empty table to wait for Matt, not realizing until he's sitting down that he'd ordered for both of them. He sighs. Foggy had made peace with his attraction to Matt Murdock years ago, and eventually the sharp edges of his crush had worn down into a love that went far deeper than friendship. It hadn't been exactly easy, being in love with his best friend, but he could deal with it when he knew Matt had his back, when they were Nelson & Murdock, presenting a united front to the world. Even if he couldn't have Matt, he still had Matt.
Now he doesn't know what to think. He knows he wants to forgive Matt--hell, it looks like his subconscious already has--but he refuses to be the only one putting himself on the line. He can't do that again.
He's halfway through his beer when Matt walks through the door. He's wearing a gray suit and the tie Foggy had bought him for his birthday two years ago, cane tapping on the floor ahead of him. He tilts his head, and Foggy knows he's listening to the room, using his senses to paint a picture of the bar. He calls Matt's name, waving a hand over his head even though Matt can't see it.
Matt makes his way toward Foggy, avoiding a collision with a drunk patron with more deftness than a blind man should possess. Foggy grits his teeth at the reminder of the secrets Matt is still keeping, and tries to put it out of his mind, instead announcing, "I got you a beer."
Matt's smile doesn't quite reach his eyes as he grabs for the back of the chair and settles himself in it. "Thanks."
Foggy slides it across the table, keeping his hand around the glass to keep from spilling. Matt meets him halfway, wrapping his hand around the glass from the other side, and it's the first time they've touched in months. Matt's fingers are so warm on Foggy's, a sharp contrast to the cold, wet glass, and Foggy only barely manages to stifle a gasp as he yanks his hand back. Matt's face does something weird, and Foggy knows he noticed the reaction.
Foggy drains the rest of his beer and stands up, more than a little awkward. "I'll be right back." He crosses to the bar and orders another drink, annoyed with himself that he's avoiding Matt even though he extended the invitation. He thanks the bartender and takes a deep, calming breath before returning to the table.
Matt has his bland lawyer expression on, and Foggy wants to slap it right off his stupid face. "Maybe this wasn't a good idea," he says, running a hand through his hair.
That seems to get through to Matt, and he flinches back like Foggy had actually hit him. "No, I can't-- Foggy… I miss you. I know I fucked up, and you have every right to be angry--"
"You're goddamn right I do," Foggy says.
"But I'd like to try to be friends again," Matt continues, ignoring Foggy's interruption. "Please."
Foggy lets the word hang in the air between them. It's not an apology, not exactly, but it might be a start. "Okay. So. What's new with Matt Murdock?"
Matt's smile is small and tentative, taking the question for the olive branch it is. "I've been working on a few cases here and there, small stuff. Eviction cases, writing wills, all that." He shrugs. "Nothing like suing the pants off Allan Pharma, big shot."
Foggy rolls his eyes. "I just rolled my eyes at you, just so you know. I'm not a big shot. Hogarth is trying to fast-track me to partner, but--" He spreads his hands out in front of him. "I'm not sure. I'm not sure a corner office is really my style. It's interesting, though. Lots of weird cases keep coming at me. Probably ought to thank you for that." He raises his glass and taps it against Matt's, careful not to spill, and takes a drink.
They keep on that conversation for three more beers, alternating rounds. Foggy tells Matt a little about Jessica Jones and the other "special" people that keep showing up at HC&B, while Matt gets into a tenancy case he'd won the week before. "This guy shows up in court, dressed in an Armani suit, wearing a shiny gold Rolex, and actually tried to tell Judge Delacruz that his financial situation was so dire that he couldn't afford to fix the pipes in the building. Her ruling practically dripped disdain. It was incredible."
Foggy laughs, picturing Delacruz, a tiny Puerto Rican woman with a full head of white hair and a no-nonsense attitude, absolutely ripping into the developer who wouldn't fix the tenements he'd just bought. "I wish I'd been there, man, that had to be amazing. I'm always terrified I'm going to be on the wrong one of her rulings someday. Keeps me up at night, I swear."
Matt laughs. "You have no idea. I barely had to do anything. His lawyer just gave up and sat down half-way through the judgement. He didn't even bother trying to stop the idiot from arguing back until she threatened him with contempt of court. He actually tried to say that him buying one of Fisk's properties at auction was a 'boon to the neighborhood,' completely ignoring the fact that he bought it for 30% lower than market value, and the City doesn't see a dime of that money anyway."
And there it is, the warmth that always blooms in Foggy's chest watching Matt's intense desire for justice translate into good in the real world. Part of it is the alcohol--he hasn't eaten since lunch, so he's more than a little drunk--but most of it is just MattandFoggy, Nelson & Murdock, the way it was before, and the way part of him is convinced it always should be. Just two neighborhood kids who made good and want nothing more than to make the world a better place.
"How is--" he starts, then waves his hand in the air aimlessly. "I just made a weird hand motion, if you couldn't figure that out with your sonar or whatever. But how's, um…" He trails off, knowing Matt will get it.
He does. "It's…" Matt stops, face serious. "Do you really want to know?"
Foggy shakes his head. "No, I really don't. But I think I need to."
Matt nods. "It's going. Still helping people."
"Not dead in a dumpster, so that's a plus," Foggy says, knowing he can't fully disguise the bitterness in his voice.
"Foggy," Matt says, voice breaking, and reaches across the table to lay his hand over Foggy's. "I'm sorry I can't be … normal. I tried, I really did--"
"Fuck, Matt, that's not what I wanted." He's so tired all of a sudden, so tired of fighting Matt and himself and the whole goddamn world. "I want you to be happy. I want you to be safe. If both of those things happen while I get to be your friend, that's a perfect world. You're my best friend, and I hate that you have to hide part of yourself from me. And I hate that I'm not as important to you as you are to me."
"That's not true--"
Foggy pulls his hand away. "I was shot, Matt, and you didn't even come see me in the hospital." He's surprised by the hurt in his own voice, surprised at the depth of betrayal he still harbors over that. "What else does that mean?"
Matt doesn't answer right away, glancing away as if to keep from meeting Foggy's gaze. "I was there. I was … I was on the roof. Listening. To make sure you were safe."
Foggy lets his head fall back and stares at the ceiling, tracing an oddly shaped stain on the tiles. "Matt, did it ever occur to you that I needed to see you, for me? That you are my friend and I care about you, and having you around makes me happy? Christ, Matt, the world does not revolve around you and your fucking martyr complex." He grits his teeth. "Do you understand that not having you around hurts me? You're so caught up in keeping me 'safe,' you've completely ignored what I want." He pushes back from the table and stands, the chair screeching unpleasantly across the floor. Matt winces. "I gotta go."
He ignores Matt's pleading and retrieves his credit card from the bar, leaving a hefty tip, since he can afford to now. Matt had paid for his rounds with cash, so he's already outside on the sidewalk, waiting, when Foggy exits. He has both hands wrapped around the handle of his cane, and even in the dim light of early evening, Foggy can see his knuckles are white.
"Foggy, please." Matt reaches for him, grabbing his forearm easily. "I'm sorry for that. I didn't--" He stops, swallows. "I wasn't thinking straight. You got hurt, and it was my fault. I didn't think you'd want to see me."
Foggy collapses back against the building like a puppet whose strings have been cut, but he doesn't pull his arm out of Matt's grasp. "You're an idiot." He's not crying, but it's a near thing, and he's pretty sure if he could see Matt's eyes behind his glasses, they'd be watery too. "Of course I wanted to see you. No, I didn't want to take the Castle case, and yes, I was mad you bailed on it, but me getting shot was not your fault; it's the fault of the guy who pulled that trigger. I don't blame you for that."
"You should blame me." I blame me, he doesn't say, but Foggy hears it anyway.
"Don't tell me how I should feel, Matt," Foggy hisses. "You don't get to do that." He watches Matt clench his jaw, feels the hand still on his forearm squeeze tighter, as if to keep Foggy from running away, but it's not necessary. Foggy's done running from this. "That's where our whole problem started, you know that? You making unilateral decisions for both of us, for our firm, and just expecting me to go along with them, even when those decisions could get you killed.
"You didn't tell me about your senses, okay, I can forgive that, because your teacher was a fucked up asshole who fucked you up. But the rest of it? I just wanted you to talk to me, Matt. I wanted you to acknowledge me--acknowledge us--as something important. But you couldn't do that. I refuse to be the pathetic guy waiting at home, praying for a phone call that will never come. I can't keep putting you first when you won't even put me in the lineup."
He's definitely crying now, and has never been more grateful for the tendency of New Yorkers to ignore all but the most bizarre of scenes. Two guys having what looks like a nasty breakup outside a bar barely rates a first glance, let alone a second.
"That's not how it is, Foggy," Matt whispers. He seems to be holding on to his stoicism by a thin thread, which should probably make Foggy feel better, but it only makes him feel worse. He's never liked seeing Matt hurt. "I-- You--" He lets out a long, sigh. "You mean everything to me, Foggy. Everything. If I lost you-- I can't lose you."
"You did, though. I left." He's not proud of it, but it's the truth. He left Matt, left Nelson & Murdock, and as much as he wishes things were different, Foggy doesn't actually regret doing it. It was the right thing to do.
Matt's laugh is bitter. "You left, but you weren't dead. I destroy everything I touch--my dad, Stick, Elektra, Karen, Nelson & Murdock. I couldn't drag you down too."
Foggy lets his head fall back against the brick wall hard enough to sting. "You're not getting it, Matt. You think you need to sacrifice me for my own good, but I'm telling you, I'm a big boy. I can make my own decisions. I don't need, or want you to make them for me. I want you to tell me the truth so I can make an informed decision."
Matt scoffs. "You don't want the truth."
"Don't fucking Jack Nicholson me, Matt," Foggy shoots back.
"Fine, you want the truth?" Matt's voice is hard and angry, and Foggy catches a glimpse of the man who gives criminals nightmares. "The whole truth and nothing but the truth, counselor? Here's the truth."
He kisses Foggy.
It's not perfect. In fact, it's probably one of the worst kisses that Foggy's experienced since middle school. Matt misses his mouth by almost an inch, his lips are chapped and his stubble scrapes against Foggy's chin, and they both taste like beer. But when Matt pulls back, Foggy finds himself breathless and needy all the same, and it takes all of his willpower not to yank him back for a proper make-out.
"I didn't intend to kiss you," Matt says. He moves back a little, but not far enough to give Foggy an easy escape--not that Foggy has any intention of escaping. "I just-- I didn't know how else to make you understand. What you mean to me."
Foggy laughs, feeling hysterical and lightheaded and a little like the whole world has turned upside down. "You broke my heart because you're in love with me. That is the singularly most Matt Murdock thing you have ever done."
Matt frowns. "I can't tell if that means you're happy or upset."
He wants to make some comment about reading minds and heartbeats, but doesn't, settling for, "Of course I'm happy about this. I've been in love with you for years."
Matt visibly startles. "You have?" He sounds so confused, Foggy can't help but reach up to pull him back in for another kiss. Matt whines pitifully at the contact, letting his cane clatter to the sidewalk in favor of burying his hands in Foggy's hair. Foggy kisses him like he's dreamed of doing since college, licking into Matt's beautiful mouth and biting down on his obscenely red bottom lip. A tiny part of his mind is screaming that this is too good to be true, that it's just one in a long line of embarrassing drunken fantasies, but then Matt pulls a little too roughly on Foggy's hair, and that tiny part shuts up and gets with the program.
Finally, when Foggy's more than a little hard in his slacks and they're both panting, he pulls back. "You really didn't know?" he asks, resting his forehead against Matt's. His glasses are sitting awkwardly, so Foggy can see Matt's eyes, beautiful and unfocused. "I thought you had to know. Especially considering your, uh--" He trails off, his hand flailing awkwardly.
Matt angles his face downward, looking guilty. "It doesn't work like that. I mean, I could tell you were attracted to me pretty much from the start, but that's different. Attraction isn't the same thing as--love," he says, nearly stumbling over the word. "And it's hard to differentiate arousal from anger sometimes," he adds, voice dropping even lower.
Foggy sighs. "I'm still pretty mad at you, Matt. You don't get to kiss me and make it all better." Matt opens his mouth to say something, but Foggy keeps going. "I mean, I would really like to try, to see if we can make this work, don't think I don't. But you can't lie to me anymore. If that's not something you're willing to do, then tell me now."
Matt clenches his teeth, the muscles in his jaw working. Finally, he nods, the movement sharp and jerky. "I want to try, Foggy."
Foggy lets out a breath he hadn't realized he was holding. "Okay. Good, because I probably would have started crying again if you said no, and that's not good for my image." Matt's face splits into a grin, and Foggy's heart swells. "Now let me walk you home so we can finish this date off properly."
"If this is your idea of a date, I take back every mean thing I said about Marci. That woman is obviously a saint."
"Oh, ha ha, funny guy," Foggy shoots back, kneeling down to retrieve Matt's cane. "Apologize, or I'll tell her that you said those mean things about her in the first place. She's not afraid to hit a blind guy; she's told me that many times over the last several weeks."
Matt's hand covers Foggy's as he takes his cane back. "She probably could. She's surprisingly nimble in those Jimmy Choos," he says, but his smile is dimmer, like what he wanted to say was something stupid like I'd let her.
Foggy leans in and presses a soft kiss to Matt's mouth, pulling away before Matt can deepen it. "No more talking about Marci, or hitting you. Let's go scandalize someone on the subway."
"Foggy, you know that's not possible," Matt says, settling his hand in the curve of Foggy's elbow. "At least, not without getting arrested."
Foggy groans. "You're right. And Brett would never let me live that down. Fine. We'll be well-behaved on the subway, and scandalize your neighbors."
Next to him, Matt laughs. "That might be easier. And probably more fun." He nudges Foggy with his hip. "I'm glad you called me today," he says, voice soft.
Foggy's chest goes tight. "I'm glad you answered."