Page 1 of 5 12345 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 69
  1. #1
    Junior Member Dragonbat's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    126

    Default When The Rest of the World Walks Out (Daredevil Fanfic)

    Rating: PG-13
    Fandom: Daredevil
    Summary: Born Again AU. After the grand jury's ruling is handed down, Foggy can't help wondering if he could have done more. He decides to drop in on Matt and make sure that he's doing all right.
    Notes: References: Daredevil, Volume 1, #203, 227, 228, Man Without Fear #1 I am borrowing heavily from Frank Miller`s portrayal of Matt`s mental state in Daredevil 228. I apologize for any inaccuracies.


    "A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out."

    —Walter Winchell


    Chapter One

    Driving back to his apartment, Foggy couldn’t help thinking that he could have done more; that there was some obvious argument or precedent that he and Matt had both overlooked that would have changed the outcome. Because despite the evidence against him, Foggy knew that there was no way that Matt had bribed a witness to perjure himself on the stand. There had to have been some way to refute the charges.

    A memory washed over him and with it, a cold sweat. There had been a case that Matt had taken on months ago, a childhood... well, no, it hadn't exactly been a childhood friend. More of a tormentor. And Matt had subconsciously planned a poor defense and eschewed plea bargains that a first-year law student would have realized were in the client’s best interest. Foggy believed Matt when he said that he hadn’t known just how badly Stymie’s actions had wounded him years earlier. He hadn’t realized that his resentment was influencing the way that he chose to argue Stymie’s defense. Now Foggy wondered whether, without realizing it, he could been harboring some resentment toward Matt which could have similarly impacted his own arguments.

    Their friendship and their working relationship had suffered their ups and downs over the years, and Foggy knew that he’d blamed Matt, at least partly, for the bankruptcy of their former practice. After all, while he’d been struggling to keep the firm afloat, Matt had gone gallivanting off to Arizona, to Venice, to who knew where else... but he hadn’t been holding up his share of the partnership. And on the personal front, Foggy hadn’t been impressed with the way Matt had treated others in his life. Heather, for example. And now, Glori.

    As he stopped the car at a red light, he had to ask himself whether he might not have been guilty of the same sort of self-sabotage of which he’d accused Matt. He closed his eyes, shook his head and let out a long breath. True, he’d scored a partial victory and managed to keep Matt out of prison, but being disbarred was no joke.

    The grand jury inquest hadn’t been Matt’s only problem these last few months. They hadn’t really discussed anything but the case in detail, but from a few comments dropped in passing, Foggy knew that Matt’s assets had been frozen, that two mortgage payments on his home had somehow gone missing, his phone was disconnected, his accountant had dropped him. His girlfriend... Foggy winced. Glorianna O’Breen had dumped Matt not long ago. Now, while Foggy wasn’t exactly dating her, it was fair to say that he was seeing her. She’d picked up the phone in his apartment when Matt had called to ask for his help. Matt had never asked about it, but he had to have wondered.

    A car behind him honked, startling him into realizing that the light had changed. He quickly started across the intersection, but his thoughts were still on Matt. There had to be something they’d overlooked and they were going to find it. In fact, he was going to drive over there right now and reassure him that, as far as he was concerned, this wasn't over. He didn’t know if Matt would be up for planning a course of action tonight; with the verdict and the disbarment only hours old, he might want a breather. But the two men hadn’t just been business partners. They were best friends. And there was no way that Foggy could turn his back on his best friend after a day like this.

    He nodded to himself as he turned east. He could pick up some pizza on the way to Matt’s. It would almost be like old times...




    He was less than fifteen blocks from Matt’s house (though in this traffic, it was taking longer than it should to get there) and stopped at another red light when he felt himself shaking. He frowned, wondering whether he was really that nervous about showing up at Matt's unannounced. Then he realized that it wasn’t just him. The Styrofoam cup of coffee he’d picked up in the pizza place was trembling in the holder. The two flat boxes of pizza seemed to twitch. On the sidewalks, the lamp posts and trees were vibrating. Then there came a roar, which Foggy heard even though his car windows were fully closed. Ahead of him, he saw a corona of fire rise up toward the sky. It almost looked like a volcano erupting. What the hell...? His heart lurched. That had to be right around...

    The light changed and Foggy continued to his destination as swiftly as he dared, all the while praying that the blast hadn’t come from Matt’s place.




    The only other time that Foggy had ever seen Matt cry had been when they’d come back from the morgue after identifying Jack Murdock’s body. It had been the first time that Foggy had seen a dead body. He’d gone with Matt, not only for moral support, but because neither he, nor the police officers who’d come to notify them, had been sure how Matt would be able to identify a face he couldn’t see. Matt’s hand had barely trembled as he’d traced the battered contours of his father’s visage, but Foggy had seen him pale, even as his too-controlled voice had confirmed, “Yes. That’s him.”

    Foggy wondered how Matt could be so sure. It looked like someone had worked over “Battlin’ Jack” Murdock with a baseball bat before shooting him. He forced himself to look at the ugly wounds and the waxen shell that had been a living, breathing human being so very recently and managed a strangled nod. He started to put his arm around Matt, but Matt was already striding quickly away.

    “We can drive you back,” one of the officers started to say.

    “I’ll walk,” Matt cut him off politely but firmly and headed out of the building.

    Foggy hesitated for only the barest instant before running after his best friend. Matt kept his collar up and his shoulders hunched as he hurried along the dark New York streets, holding his white cane before him, but hardly touching its tip to the pavement and never once pausing to get his bearings. At first, Foggy thought that Matt didn’t realize that he was following him, but when he had to stop to catch his breath, Matt stopped as well, waiting for him to catch up, before continuing at a somewhat slower pace. Matt didn’t say a single word on the way to the dormitory and, once back inside their room, he flung himself face-down on his bed and buried his face in the pillow.

    Foggy looked on helplessly, not knowing what to say or do, but knowing that he couldn’t just turn his back on a friend. Finally, he sat down on the edge of Matt’s bed and awkwardly rested a hand on his shoulder. A strangled sound came from the pillow, too loud for a whimper, too soft for a sob. With his free hand, Foggy reached for the tissue box on the night table and placed it on the pillow, next to Matt's hand. Matt reached up, fumbled for a moment, and then took one with a muffled 'thank you'.

    Foggy closed his eyes and shook his head, hating the situation, hating the helplessness, hating seeing Matt this broken. “I’m here for you, buddy,” he said softly. Under his hand, Matt’s shoulder tensed. Now what had he...? Right. Matt had a hard time accepting help, even when it was warranted. Two of their professors had a habit of writing supplemental notes on the whiteboards without reading them aloud. Matt never let on that it was a problem for him. Instead, he found ways around it—reviewing the lessons with Foggy and filling in the gaps that way. Foggy hadn’t realized that Matt was doing it, until he’d found his friend groaning over a failed quiz in Critical Legal Thought. He hadn’t been able to find a study partner for that class and Foggy wasn’t taking it, having chosen a different elective instead. Convincing Matt that he needed to talk to the professor about it had been like pulling teeth. He hated admitting that he needed help. Foggy just hadn’t realized how much he also hated accepting help, even if it was offered instead of requested.

    Foggy shook his head again. “Matty,” he said, trying to find something he could say that wouldn’t backfire, “I...” he took a deep breath. “I’m sorry.” If there’s anything I can do, just let me know... only you won’t, because you never do and I don’t know if offering now will hurt more, so I’m just going to sit here, for as long as you don’t seem to mind. “I only met your dad once, but once was all it took to see that he was a great guy and he didn’t deserve this.” He opened his eyes again and looked down at Matt.

    Matt rolled over onto his side and gripped Foggy’s forearm wordlessly. His face was red, creased from pressing into the wrinkles in the pillow case, and he looked lost without his glasses (they’d remained on the pillow when he rolled over).

    “I can take notes for both of us tomorrow, if you need time to get your head together.”

    Matt nodded. “You’re staying in tonight?” He sounded tired.

    “I was planning to,” Foggy nodded back automatically. “But if you need some time alone, I could...”

    “No!” It came out louder than either of them expected. “No,” Matt repeated a bit more softly. “I’d rather not be alone right now.”

    “I’m here.”

    Matt closed his eyes. “Thanks.”



  2. #2
    Junior Member Dragonbat's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    126

    Default

    Foggy was thinking about that night now, as he practically bolted out of his car, racing to the rubble that had been Matt’s brownstone. Matt was kneeling at the edge of the debris, tears leaking out from under his glasses, pouring down his cheeks as he clutched a ragged piece of red fabric tightly in both hands.

    “Matt! I saw the explosion from ten blocks away! What happened?”

    Matt didn’t respond.

    Foggy took a good look at the fabric and froze when he saw the double-D insignia. How had Matt...? “You kept Mike’s costume all these years?” he exclaimed.

    Matt tilted his head then. “Mike...?” he asked in seeming puzzlement.

    Foggy blinked. Matt’s twin brother Mike had been the original Daredevil, or so Matt had told him ages ago, when they were just starting their practice. Following Mike’s death in a plane crash, the mantle had passed to someone else. Matt hadn’t seemed as broken up as one might have expected upon the loss of a sibling, but for him to have held on to the costume all these years... His eyes widened. Unless... He pushed the thought away. There would be time to deal with that idea later.

    Still on his knees Matt shifted marginally closer. “Foggy?” he asked hoarsely.

    “I’m right here, pal,” he said, kneeling next to him. He would have put a hand on his shoulder, but Matt recoiled.

    “Why?” His voice was harsh, almost accusing, but the anger was gone in an instant. "Why did you come here?" he nearly whispered.

    Foggy blinked, taken aback by the initial hostility. “Because your phone’s been disconnected and I wanted to tell you in person that I wasn’t going to rest until we get today’s ruling overturned and you get your license back,” he said simply.

    It took a moment for the words to sink in, but when they did, Matt seemed to retreat into his quilted jacket. “Thanks. I...” His voice trailed off. "I..."

    What did you say to guy who'd lost his career, his reputation, and his home on the same day? Foggy reached for Matt's shoulder again. This time, Matt let him. When several long minutes passed and Matt didn't say anything further, Foggy took a deep breath and asked, “What are you going to do now?”

    Matt considered. “I guess I can get a...” He shook his head miserably. “No. I can’t get a room at the Plaza until the IRS unfreezes my accounts. I...”

    “You can stay at my place,” Foggy said firmly.

    A surprised smile flashed across his face, but it vanished almost instantly. “I couldn’t impose on—”

    “It’s not an imposition,” Foggy cut him off.

    Matt frowned. “Don’t you and Glori need your space?”

    “What?”

    Now it was Matt who seemed taken aback. “When I called you about taking my case,” he said, “she answered your phone at seven a.m. I thought...”

    “Matt,” Foggy sighed, “I wish you’d asked. She’d had a burglary at her place the day before and she was afraid to be alone. She did spend the night with me, but I slept on the sofa. Since then, she’s been around. I mean, she’s Debbie’s niece and I didn’t stop being friendly to her just because Debbie and I separated, but believe me, we aren’t dating and we aren’t sleeping together.”

    He sighed. “Look, you can’t stay here. I’ve got two pizzas in the car. We’ll go back to my apartment and reheat them and after that,” he sighed, “if you really don’t want to stay over, I’ll pay for the Plaza and you can reimburse me when the IRS gets its act together.”

    Matt hesitated.

    Foggy took Matt's arm and draped it across his shoulders, gratified that Matt neither resisted nor protested. “Come on,” he said, rising to his feet and pulling Matt after him. “It’s snowing again. Weatherman predicts another six inches by morning. You really want to freeze out here just so you can prove a point?”

    For the barest instant, another smile flickered across Matt’s lips. “No,” he admitted. “And... if you’re sure you’re okay with it, maybe I will stay at your place. I... I’d rather not be alone right now.”

    Foggy tightened his grip on Matt’s sleeve. “I’m here.”

    “Thanks.” Matt took a deep breath. “But I’m taking the sofa.”

    “Deal.”

  3. #3
    Junior Member Dragonbat's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    126

    Default

    Chapter 2

    Even before Matt came fully awake the next morning, he knew something was different. For one thing, this wasn't his bed. The mattress was a good deal softer and beneath the palms of his hands, the cotton fabric was padded. Letting his fingers run lightly over the fabric, he found that it was grooved with lines of stitching running through it at regular intervals that crisscrossed on the diagonal. He had to be lying on top of a bedspread instead of under it. There was another blanket over him that felt like a duvet or a comforter. He rolled over with a groan and felt cracker crumbs under his cheek. He didn't eat in bed! Where was he?

    Something else was different, he realized. For the first time in weeks, he was warm. Ever since Con-Edison had turned off the heat in his brownstone, he'd slept huddled under extra blankets, but sooner or later, the cold air would slip through, brushing his face, seeping into the chinks between sheet and covers, rousing him for another day of hell. No. Hell, at least, had heat. And today, apparently, so did he.

    If this was a dream, he didn't want to wake up, but even as he fought to hold onto sleep, bits and pieces of yesterday began to return. The grand jury's verdict... the long walk home—with his last ten dollars in his pocket, he hadn't wanted to pay for cab fare, nor even bus fare... the explosion that had demolished his house... Foggy. Foggy had found him after the blast, brought him back here. And then... what?

    His forehead wrinkled as he tried to remember. He'd had a headache. No great shock there; the explosion had played havoc with most of his remaining senses and his stress level hadn't helped matters. The smoke blowing in his face, wafting over, under, and around his glasses, stinging his eyes to tears hadn't helped either. (He refused to consider any other reason why he might have been crying yesterday.) He remembered Foggy getting him into the car, the smell of the pizzas making his mouth water as he'd held them on his lap in the front seat. He'd been too keyed up to eat before the verdict and then he'd told himself that he could wait until he got home to eat. Only home had blown up in his face.

    He came fully awake in an instant. Kingpin! It had finally come clear yesterday. Somehow, the Kingpin had learned Matt's identity and set out to ruin him. He'd been behind everything. Which meant that as long as Matt stayed here, Foggy was in danger. Matt pushed away the duvet and willed himself to rise.

    He sat up and his head started to spin again. He tried to focus, remembering how Stick had trained him, had helped him to adjust to his enhanced senses, so that his clothes didn't make him itch (unless they were woolen. Wool next to his skin had made him itch even before the accident.), and so that he could walk through a food court without choking on the smells of fried food mingling with grilled, mixing with perfumes, colognes, deodorants, and aftershaves that masked—but never completely hid—the body's natural odors. He had to concentrate. He had to get out of bed, get his coat, get out of Foggy's apartment... and he would. In just another minute, he would. He...

    He sank back to the bed and pulled the duvet back up. It was warm and he hadn't been warm in so long. And he was tired...


  4. #4
    Junior Member Dragonbat's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    126

    Default

    When he woke again, he guessed that it was late morning or early afternoon from the sound of the traffic outside the window. Cars were moving freely and he didn't hear many horns honking, so it wasn't rush hour. He supposed that if he got out of bed and opened the window, he could get a better idea of the time from the angle of the sun, but he wasn't really that interested. He was warm. He was relatively comfortable. And he was still tired.

    He should probably get up and have breakfast. He'd eaten more than half a pizza last night, but that had been hours ago. He needed to eat if he was going to train and he needed to train if he was going to beat the Kingpin and get his life back. And until he did beat the Kingpin, his staying here was doing nothing but painting a giant target on Foggy's back.

    ...

    He shouldn't think of targets. Kingpin had used Bullseye in the past. If he was using him again, it would be that much harder for Matt to beat him. And he had to beat the Kingpin.

    Which meant that he had to get out of this nice, warm bed and out of this nice, warm apartment and back out on the mean, cold streets of New York. He had to find a gym and he had to start training...

    He burrowed under the covers once more. He was tired.

    He heard footsteps outside the door and he tensed, coming wide awake in a moment. It had to be Kingpin. Somehow, the crimelord had found him. Probably had someone watching the house, watching Matt crying over his house (it had just been because of the smoke, damn it!), watching him get into Foggy's car, tailing him and reporting back to...

    "Matt? Are you awake?"

    Foggy. And only Foggy. With a sigh, he got up to open the door. Then he stopped. Foggy was alone, true... but was there anyone else in the apartment? Matt listened intently, expanding his focus outward. Yes, there were other heartbeats. He could hear them now. Three... four other people. Wait. Something was off. One of them had a heart rate of over 150 beats per minute and a breathing rate of 40—understandable if they were nervous—but he found no corresponding fear or stress smell in the pheromones, and he should have been able to catch something. It took him a moment to figure it out, but when he did, he nearly laughed in relief. The 'at rest' heart rate for an infant could reach up to 160 beats per minute and the 'at rest' breathing rate could go up to 50. And this was an apartment building. Matt was hearing the neighbors.

    "Matt?"

    He pulled the door open, yanked a startled Foggy inside, slammed the door shut and braced his back against it. "Are you alone?" he demanded in a harsh whisper.

    "Uh... yeah," Foggy said nervously. "What's going on?"

    "Has anyone been here looking for me?"

    "No," Foggy said, clearly having no idea what was going on. "Matt, are you feeling okay?"

    What was he doing? He could have... he'd almost hurt... He let out a long breath and slid to the floor. "I don't know," he admitted. "I'm sorry. I guess after yesterday..."

    "Yeah." Matt heard a slightly-pained grunt and felt the floor vibrate as Foggy joined him on the carpet. "Yeah, I'd probably be a little jumpy, too."

    Matt nodded. "The explosion wasn't an accident, Foggy," he said slowly.

    "No." Foggy didn't sound surprised, which gave Matt pause. "No, buildings don't usually spontaneously explode. I was thinking about that last night, after you fell asleep."

    "That reminds me," Matt said with a frown, "I thought we agreed that I was going to take the sofa."

    He could hear the smile in Foggy's voice, when he replied, "No, Matt. You said that you were taking the sofa and I thought to myself, 'No way. It's my apartment. You don't get to dictate the sleeping arrangements. I take the sofa, you take the bed, and if you don't like it, you'll just have to deal.'" He shrugged—a gesture Matt could detect, even if Foggy didn't realize it. "Can I help it if I was so annoyed at you trying to tell me what to do in my own home that I actually spoke the last word out loud?"

    Matt's lips twitched. "How long did it take you to come up with that justification?"

    "I figured it out on the drive home." Foggy sighed. "And anyway, after you ate, you seemed pretty wiped out, so I suggested you lie down in here while I got the sofa set up. By the time I finished, you were out like a light."

    He didn't need to check Foggy's heart rate to recognize the ring of truth in that statement. "Thanks," he said simply. "I... I need to leave." The problem was, he didn't think he could stand up. He wasn't sure he could have stayed sitting, were it not for the door at his back.

    Disapproval hung heavy in Foggy's tone. "Where are you going?"

    "I don't..." Matt took a deep breath. "The explosion wasn't an accident. Kingpin arranged it. He arranged everything. Got Manolis to lie about my bribing that witness. Got the bank to lose my mortgage checks. My accountant dropped me. Glori dumped me."

    "Okay," Foggy said slowly. "He could have been behind most of that. But you haven't answered my question, counselor. Where are you going?"

    "Damn it, Foggy! I'm not making this up and I'm not crazy!" His voice broke. "I've been under a lot of pressure and yes, it's been getting to me, but I know he's behind this. You have to believe me."

    Foggy waited.

    "I have to confront him. I have to make him give me my life back. I have to beat him, Foggy." His shoulders slumped.

    "And until I do," his voice dropped to a near whisper, "I can't take the chance that ruining my life and blowing up my building was enough for him. He's already separated me from all the things I thought were important to me. If he's getting ready to start on people..."

    Foggy swallowed hard. "You're in no shape to go out right now, Matt. You're barely sitting upright."

    "As long as I'm here, you're in danger."

    Foggy took a deep breath. "Matt... Have you met any of our high-profile clients? I'm... actually pretty used to danger by now."

    "This isn't a joke, Foggy!" Matt exclaimed. "If anything happens to you because of me I'll—"

    "—Never forgive yourself?" Foggy interrupted. "Fine. Now you know how I'll feel if I read in tomorrow's Bugle about something happening to you, knowing that it'll be my fault."

    "It won't be your fault."

    "If you're leaving to protect me, it damned well will!"

    Matt shook his head. "Foggy..."

    "Matt," Foggy was almost pleading, "don't shut me out. You said it yourself. Your life has been going to hell in a big way over the last few months. I'm here for you."

    "I can't let you involve yourself."

    "Shut up. I'm in."

    "Foggy, no. This is something I have to deal with on my own."

    "When you can barely stand up." Foggy sighed. "Fine," he said slowly. "That's not the only thing about this situation that's bugging me. If I hated someone enough to want to ruin their life, then personally, I'd want to gloat over every minute of it. If Kingpin's the same way, odds are he already knows you're here."

    Matt struggled to his feet, leaning heavily on his cane. "Which is all the more reason for me to leave."

    "Which leaves ME in more danger!" Foggy snapped. "If you walk out now and he comes looking for you or—as you just put it, fixing to separate you from the people you—care about, what exactly is going to keep me alive?"

    "Once I'm gone—"

    "What if they think you might come back?"

    Matt's fingers whitened on the cane and he slid back down.

    "I need you, buddy."

    Matt nodded slowly. "All right. I'm just… so… tired."

    "Well, maybe you'll feel more awake if you eat something," Foggy pointed out. "And after that, we should probably go out. You need a few things to wear and we're not exactly the same size."

    Matt nodded. Now that Foggy mentioned it, he did feel more than a little grungy after wearing the same clothes for more than 24 hours.

    "I'm also going to get a better chain for the door and see if the hardware store can give me any other advice about improving security. Just, you know, in case you're right about Kingpin."

    "A chain won't stop him."

    Foggy took a deep breath. "No," he said slowly. "But you will. Won't you… Daredevil?"

  5. #5
    Junior Member Dragonbat's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    126

    Default

    A/N: Thanks to Elle Weiss for free legal advice. Some dialogue from Daredevil Vol. 1 No. 228 (originally written by Frank Miller) has been tweaked for insertion in this chapter.

    Chapter 3

    Foggy hadn’t anticipated the effect that his question would have on Matt, though given the way his best friend had been behaving, perhaps he should have. Matt lunged, closing the narrow gap between the two men, his hands extending toward Foggy’s throat.

    “What did you call me?” he demanded. “How did you know? How does he know?”

    Unprepared, Foggy managed a single, frantic “Matt!” before the hands tightened, cutting off his air. He couldn’t believe that this was happening. Gasping, he desperately brought his own hands up to Matt’s arms, clawed at them, tried to pull them away. No good. The room started to fade before his eyes and all he could see was Matt’s face, red with rage, barely human, filling his field of vision, then growing darker and darker as he choked, fighting desperately for oxygen...

    As quickly as the attack had come, it ceased and he could breathe again. Matt had retreated back to ‘his’ spot against the door, holding up his hands as though he could see them. They were trembling, Foggy noted clinically, as he rubbed his neck, gulped in fresh air, and tried to ignore the voice in his head that told him that Matt had just tried to kill him.

    “Foggy?” Matt’s voice was a hoarse whisper, almost as though he’d been the one choking. “Are you...?”

    “I’m right here, Matt,” Foggy said wearily.

    The tremor in Matt’s hands intensified. “I thought... I almost... I could have...” He pressed himself against the door as though he would have retreated further had it not been in the way. “Oh, G-d, Foggy. I’m sorry.”

    “Yeah.”

    For what seemed like a long time, neither man moved nor spoke. Finally, Matt took a deep breath and expelled it with an audible sigh. “How did you find out?”

    Foggy hesitated.

    Matt flinched. “I’m not going to attack you again,” he said. “I can’t believe I...” his voice trailed off, but the look of horror on his face was unmistakable.

    “Makes two of us.” It was a weak joke, but it was the best he could do at the moment.
    “Maybe,” Foggy ventured, “I could have timed that better.”

    “No.” Matt was shaking his head. “No. And even if you had, that doesn’t excuse my reaction. I...” He took another breath. “I think I’m sick, Foggy. Something... I think there’s something wrong with my mind.” His face took on a probing look. It seemed to Foggy that it was almost as though Matt was trying to listen for his reaction.

    Foggy inched closer, reached out, and placed a hand on Matt’s arm.

    Matt exhaled. “How did you know?” he asked again.

    Foggy joined him against the door. “I think it really gelled for me yesterday,” he admitted. “When I found you with the costume. What was left of it, I mean,” he added. “You know, there were a couple of things about your twin brother that never sat right with me.”

    Matt tilted his head, questioning.

    “After you lost your dad,” Foggy continued, resting a hand on Matt’s shoulder, “when you asked me to come back with you and help you pack up his things, I found some old photo albums. Obviously, I didn’t think I could ask you to tell me who was in the pictures, but I admit I was curious and I leafed through. They were all of you and your dad. Nobody else.”

    “You don’t know that,” Matt’s lips twitched. “If Mike and I were identical twins...”

    “Then there would have been a bunch of photos of the two of you, side-by-side, in cute matching outfits.”

    Under his hand, Foggy felt Matt relax. “Circumstantial, but I’ll concede your point.”

    “Not to mention that, while I was preparing your defense argument for the grand jury hearing, I had occasion to review some of your paperwork. Michael is your middle name. Now, while it’s not precisely illegal to give two of your kids the same name, it’s pretty unusual.”

    Matt expelled a short breath, almost like a laugh. “True.”

    “As I recall,” Foggy went on, “the first time you ever mentioned Mike was when Karen and I both thought that you were Daredevil. Looks like we were right all along.”

    “Surprise.”

    “I have to admit that faking blindness is a great cover.”

    “Excuse me?” His arm tensed.

    “You pull it off well,” Foggy continued calmly, “but every so often, you forget. Like when I got into the office early one day, noticed that one of the lights in the waiting room was burned out and decided to change it myself instead of waiting for building maintenance.

    “I don’t—”

    “The phone rang in my office,” Foggy continued, and I thought it might be important, so I ran to answer it, leaving the stepladder in the middle of the floor. When I got off the phone and went back, it was just in time to see you walk in. You had your cane in one hand, an armload of packages in the other, and even though the stepladder was right in your path, you didn’t hesitate for a second. You just detoured around it when you were more than a foot away.

    Matt’s fingers clenched around his cane. “So you decided my blindness was an act.”

    “No. Not then. But there’ve been other incidences. Like how you found your way back to the dorm the night your father died, even though the police drove us to the station and there was no way you could have known where we were. The times I’ve had to drop something in your office and found the latest Howard Journal sitting on your desk and not the Braille edition. And sometimes, when we’re walking out on the street and you aren’t paying that much attention, you just hold your cane, but you don’t actually swing it. Little things add up.”

    “They do indeed,” Matt whispered. “What else?”

    “You told Glori that you could see.”

    Matt winced. “That was temporary.”

    “Excuse me?”

    Matt sighed. “Attention to detail always has been one of your strengths,” he mused. Foggy watched his friend’s jaw clench and unclench as he appeared to think something over. At last, Matt took a deep breath and exhaled. “Fine,” he said wearily. “Yes, I’m Daredevil. And, as you correctly surmise, I created the Mike Murdock identity to allay your suspicions, when you and Karen came to that conclusion. Back in college, I told you that I lost my sight in a traffic accident and that’s also true. But that wasn’t the only thing that happened to me when the radioactive waste canister hit my face...


  6. #6
    Junior Member Dragonbat's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    126

    Default

    “...And,” Matt concluded, “again, I’m not trying to justify attacking you, but ever since I put it all together and realized that the Kingpin had learned that I was Daredevil, I’ve been trying to figure out how he found out.”

    Somewhere in the course of the explanation, Foggy had gone from resting his hand on Matt’s arm to wrapping it around both of his shoulders. He removed it now. “So, after I confronted you just now, you decided I must have told him?” he demanded. “Boy, thanks a lot.”

    Matt slumped miserably. “I don’t blame you for being mad,” he said. “For weeks... months, now... it’s felt like everyone was against me, like there was some... vendetta. I kept telling myself it was all in my head. Then when I found out that some of it wasn’t, I... I started thinking that maybe I’d been right about everything. That...” His lips pressed together.

    “That I might have deliberately botched your defense to ruin you,” Foggy groaned.

    “No!” Matt shook his head emphatically. “Foggy, I told you yesterday that you were brilliant. I meant it. You found precedents I never would have thought applied, you kept me out of prison, you did everything you could possibly have done—”

    “And we still lost!” Foggy shot back, his anger dissolving in the face of yesterday’s guilt.

    “That wasn’t your fault!” Matt gripped his forearm for emphasis. “I know that. I just... forgot.”

    “You forgot.” Foggy took a deep breath. “Okay. Let’s review. You told me that the radioactive waste enhanced your other senses.”

    Matt nodded. “Yes.”

    “Enhanced them to the point where you can tell whether someone is lying from the sound of their heartbeat.”

    “That’s a primary indicator, yes. Sweat pheromones help too.”

    "All right." A hint of steel crept into his tone as he shrugged off Matt's hand. "Let's settle this, once and for all, then. Matt, I want you to listen to me and listen good, because I don't want to have to say it again. Are you ready? Okay. Now. I am not working with the Kingpin or any of your other enemies. I did not sell you out. I am on your side and, provided that you don't try to kill me again, you are welcome to stay here for as long as you need, until you're back on your feet again, for however long that takes. Meanwhile, I am going to work like hell to get your name cleared and your license restored—or die trying. What does your built-in polygraph make of that?" For a moment, there was no reaction and Foggy wondered whether Matt had read some indication of falsehood, buried on a level so deep that Foggy didn't realize it was there. Then there was a tentative grip on his forearm. He smiled and brought his free hand up to cover Matt's. "Well, Counselor?"

    “You’re telling the truth,” Matt said raggedly. “I had to have known that before, too. I just...” His shoulders slumped. “Thank you. I know how badly I’ve messed things up, these last few months. You tried to warn me about the state of our practice. I ignored you. I... hated letting you down and...” Matt often forgot to face people when he was speaking to them, particularly when he was agitated. He turned toward Foggy now with a tired smile, “I guess I hated myself for doing it and figured you probably did, too.”

    “No,” Foggy shook his head emphatically. “No way. I admit I was angry, but...”

    “You had every right to be. And you would have had every right to... to hang up on me weeks ago, when I asked for your help after I first got the summons.”

    Foggy sighed. “Hey. You’re still the best friend I’ve ever had. Even if you can be a real jerk sometimes.” That got him a smile. Foggy grinned and stole a glance at his watch. “Now, is there any chance that we can have something to eat—lunch for me, breakfast for you—and hit the stores before they close?”

    For answer, Matt rose to his feet. Foggy struggled to follow suit. Something poked him in the side.

    “Here.”

    With a rueful chuckle, Foggy gripped the cane and let Matt pull him up. “Thanks.”

    “No, Foggy. Thank you.”



    Wilson Fisk was a careful man, given to calm deliberation. He made no move without planning, no action without a realistic appraisal of the consequences. Now he gazed impassively at the man whom he had set to shadowing Matthew Murdock and gave a slight nod. “Report.”

    The lieutenant swallowed. “It is indeed behavior of the most fraternate variety that I observe while perusing Matt Murdock, as per your advisement, Kingpin. He goes with Nelson via an automotive conveyance to Columbus Circle, whereupon he enters a local establishment. Such establishment is being of the apparellous nature. Nelson facilitates Murdock’s shopping experience through the use of credit cards, these being of the gold and platinum variety...”

    As Kingpin listened, he pursed his lips together in a deep frown. “Continue your surveillance,” he said at last. “If you see Murdock leave Nelson’s apartment alone, notify me immediately. Particularly,” he added, “should it appear that he is seeking lodgings elsewhere.”

    So. At least one of Murdock’s friends was still standing by him. Steps might need to be taken, but not hastily. Nelson was a clever litigator; one whom Kingpin knew would be an asset to his organization. And Murdock might not stay with him for long. Yes, Fisk smiled, he could afford to bide his time and await further developments. And if he did indeed need to deal with Nelson, it would be unfortunate, but there were plenty of other brilliant attorneys in New York.

    He smiled. If it were possible to eliminate Nelson in such a way that Murdock appeared to be at fault... yes, that might tie up the loose ends rather neatly. This would bear additional thought. His smile grew malevolent as he began to plan.

  7. #7
    Junior Member Dragonbat's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    126

    Default

    References: Man Without Fear #1


    Chapter 4

    It took two months without heat or hot water to make Matt truly appreciate the therapeutic effects of a hot bath. When he and Foggy had returned from their shopping trip, he'd grabbed a towel and headed toward the bathroom, while Foggy had set about improving the apartment's security. (They both knew that the extra chain would do little to stop a determined intruder, but it was still better than the current setup.) Once reassured that Foggy's rent included utilities, Matt drew the bath, lay back in the tub, submerged himself in warm water up to his neck and tried to release the tensions of the last few weeks.

    He wasn't sure how long he soaked. He knew that at some point, Foggy stopped pounding nails into the door and wall, cursing each time he missed the nail and hit his thumb. When the water cooled, he let some of it drain and ran the hot tap again. He knew that he'd have to get out eventually, but not now.

    He was still tired, but it wasn't the crippling lethargy that had overtaken him earlier. Kingpin had hurt him. He had to acknowledge that and accept that he needed some time to recuperate. Soon. Soon he would have his life back. But for now...

    "Quit feeling sorry for yourself. Get up."

    Startled, Matt sat bolt upright, sloshing water over the side of the tub. "Wha...?" He knew that voice.

    "Undisciplined," the voice rasped. "Indulgent. Emotional."

    No. It wasn't possible. "Stick?" It couldn't be. There was no other heartbeat in the room. No breathing but his own, no silica-corundum smell of pool chalk mixed with myrrh and sandalwood incense. No, Matt knew he was alone. But he could still hear the same sharp sarcastic voice that had forced its way through the wall of self-pity he'd erected around himself after the accident. But that had been then. He wasn't feeling sorry for himself now. He was just tired. That was all. And... maybe it was time to take stock and let a few things go. He wasn't a lawyer anymore. Without a place to train, without a costume, maybe Daredevil needed a break, too. Maybe it was time to...

    A new voice broke into his thoughts, thick with rage and strong with purpose. Another voice that Matt knew he couldn't be hearing, but memories were odd things and, at times, stronger than reality.

    "...My boy is out there in the audience and I'm thinking about how I told him one thing worth a damn. I told him to never give up. Never. It's time I showed him his Dad might be a loser... but he's no quitter."

    The crowd had been roaring that night. It had been hard for Matt to know what was going on. Foggy had tried to give him a play-by-play, but his voice had been swallowed up in the cheers and boos and bells and stomping feet. Still, every now and then, there had been a slight ebb in the cacophony and a snatch of conversation had carried. And those words, the last words he ever heard his father speak, had seared themselves into his brain, replaying in dreams and in fleeting moments of solitude. He would never forget them and he couldn't ignore them.

    "Message received, Dad," he whispered. He took a deep breath, held it for a seven-count, then released it. He repeated the exercise a second time and then a third. How long had it been since he'd even tried to meditate? Too long. He set his jaw firmly and took a fourth breath.

    The water was tepid by the time he stopped and he pulled out the plug with his toes. The soak had done his tired muscles a world of good, but it had also made him drowsy and he'd slept too many hours away already. He hauled himself upright, drew the plastic curtain, and ran the shower. A cold one.

  8. #8
    Junior Member Dragonbat's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    126

    Default

    Foggy was on the sofa, leaning toward the television, but he turned the set off as soon as Matt came into the living room. Matt shook his head. "You don't have to stop watching on my account," he said, smiling.

    "Ehhh," Foggy snorted, "there's nothing on anyway. How are you doing?"

    "Better." He joined Foggy on the sofa. A moment later, he frowned. "Did you spill coffee on this?"

    "Yeah," Foggy admitted, sounding surprised. "A couple of days ago. You're telling me that even though I got the stain out, you still smell it?"

    "It's faint, but it's there," Matt nodded. "It'll fade in time. Meanwhile," he smiled, "I like the smell of coffee anyway."

    Foggy sighed in relief. "I guess I'd better pay more attention to stuff like that, though. I can try to keep the TV and radio lower and—"

    "I appreciate the thought," Matt shook his head, "but I really wish you wouldn't." Foggy started to say something. Matt held up a hand. "No. Seriously. You've known me for how many years now?" He plowed on without waiting for an answer. "I had enhanced senses all that time and it's not like going a varsity basketball game ever left me curled up in the fetal position with my hands over my ears." He forced a smile. "Look. You've never felt a need to walk on eggshells around me, before. Don't start now."

    Foggy considered that for a moment. "Okay," he said, and Matt heard the smile in his voice and the creak of the sofa as he leaned back. "So. Am I the first person to figure out you're Daredevil?"

    Matt tilted his head toward him. "It was the Kingpin who left my costume in the rubble," he pointed out. "His way of 'signing' his work."

    "Right," Foggy exhaled. "Sorry."

    "Karen knew," Matt said after a moment. "We were becoming serious. I was contemplating asking her to marry me and, under the circumstances, I felt I had to tell her. She couldn't deal with it. It's the main reason we broke up."

    "Ah. Wait. Spider-Man knows, too, right?"

    "Yes."

    Foggy let out another long breath. "Okay. The woman you thought you were going to marry. Your worst enemy. Another costumed hero... anyone else?"

    "Black Widow."

    "How about Heather?"

    "Yes."

    "Glori?"

    "No."

    "Anyone else?"

    Matt hesitated. "Ben Urich."

    "Who?"

    "He's an investigative reporter with the Bugle. He figured it out. He was planning a whole exposé."

    "Oh, for..." Foggy broke off abruptly. "What happened?"

    "He changed his mind." Matt slumped. "He called me when the news broke about the grand jury. He wanted to get my side things. I blew him off." He winced. "I should probably call him to apologize."

    Foggy groaned. "So half the Western Hemisphere already knew about this and you didn't tell me."

    "I didn't tell anyone but Karen and Heather. The others found out on their own." He reached over and put a hand on Foggy's shoulder. "You're right, though. I should have told you before this."

    "No kidding."

    The hurt in Foggy's voice was almost palpable. Matt sighed. "The two people I did tell on my own, I..." He sucked in a breath. "I'll probably never be certain whether knowing my identity was part of what led Heather to..." He shook his head. "I can't be certain. But, I do know that Karen couldn't handle it. She'd had a few brushes with the people I fight. She knew too well the danger. And once I told her, she worried every time she knew I was out in costume. That worry was a big part of why she left. Her leaving was a big part of why I didn't want to tell you." He shook his head. "But I still should have."

    For a moment, Foggy was silent. Then, "Did I mention that you can be a real jerk sometimes?"

    "You did."

    "Case. In. Point." He sighed. "Okay. I know now. Better late than never. And I get that you didn't want to risk my letting you down, but I wish you could have..." He broke off abruptly. "Oh, what's the use? What's done is done. I know now," he repeated. "I'm not running for the door and I'm not kicking you out on your ear." He covered the hand on his shoulder with his own. "Just... try trusting me a little more from now on?"

    Matt nodded. "You got it."

  9. #9
    Junior Member Dragonbat's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    126

    Default

    Matt woke up the next morning feeling—if not exactly invigorated, at least—a great deal closer to his old self than he had in a long time. He knew he wasn't ready to take on the Kingpin yet, but he wasn't going to sit cowering in Foggy's apartment, either. Kingpin had ripped almost everything away from him, so it was time to go back to the basics. If he had to start from scratch, then so be it.

    He opened one of the dresser drawers that Foggy had cleared out for him yesterday—over his protests—and pulled out a pair of cargo pants, a t-shirt and a cable-knit sweater. A stale sweat-and-smoke smell from the hamper in the corner hit him and he wrinkled his nose with distaste. Last night, he'd been too tired to notice and he'd had other things on his mind until now, but he was going to have to wash those clothes... or burn them. For now, he cracked the window open a bit to air out the room and headed for the kitchen.

  10. #10
    Junior Member Dragonbat's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    126

    Default

    Foggy wished him a good morning through a mouthful of doughnut. "Guess you know what's on the table," he said. "Help yourself. Or ask if there's something else you want."

    Matt nodded. "Is that a toaster?" he asked, gesturing toward the counter.

    "Uh... yeah."

    "Thanks." He'd caught Foggy's hesitation and he had a pretty good idea of the reason for it. "Asking about the extent of my hyper-senses isn't walking on eggshells around me, just so you know," he smiled. "My radar sense gives me shapes... contours. Deductive reasoning fills in a lot of the blanks. I see something on the counter that looks like a square box. There's an electrical cord coming out from behind... at least, I think I can infer that it's plugged in," he pointed to the wall socket, "and not some I-don't-even-know-what that you've chained to the wall." He reached toward the loaf of sandwich bread on the table, took two slices, and strode toward the toaster. "Believe me, if we were in a store where they tie the merchandise to the walls or counters, I'd have a harder time distinguishing between an electrical cord and a security chain. Anyway, this is a kitchen, so it's probably a small appliance. You don't buy a lot of fad gadgets, so it's not likely to be a juicer or a yogurt-maker; not that I'd recognize one of those without having one pointed out to me. So, at this point, I've pretty much got it narrowed down to three likely possibilities: a toaster, a clock or a radio. You've got a radio on that shelf," he pointed over Foggy's head, "at least, the sports scores were coming from up there yesterday. Clocks don't necessarily need to be on counters, so I'm going with toaster." He placed the bread in the slots and slid the lever down.

    Foggy laughed and applauded lightly. "And your sense of smell tells you when the bread's dark enough?"

    "You got it. Now," he lowered his voice as though about to impart some great secret, "my hypersenses don't tell me where you keep your frying pans and I could really go for some scrambled eggs."

    "Cabinet to the left of the window," Foggy smiled. "Just turn the burner about a notch lower than you think you should. They're made out of some new alloy that heats up faster or better."

    "Noted. You have eggs, right?"

    "Yeah, in the fridge. Second shelf up from the crisper... Sorry, I don't remember which side."

    Matt shrugged. "Egg cartons have a distinctive shape. That's how I knew they weren't on the table. I think I can find them." He flicked the toaster lever back up and smiled with satisfaction.

    "Did you have any plans this evening?" he asked, as he set the pan down on the burner.

    Foggy considered. "I don't know. I'm pretty open. Why?"

    "I need to buckle down," Matt said. "Kingpin believes I'm beaten and that's fine; let him. What's important is that I don't start believing it." His face fell for a moment. "...Again," he added.

    "Okay," Foggy said slowly. "So..."

    "So I need to get into the right headspace. That means training. Normally, this would not be a problem; I had a gym in my brownstone."

    "This is a problem," Foggy replied.

    "This is a problem," Matt confirmed, as he opened the fridge. "There are two solutions. One is going to be difficult for both of us. One is just going to be inconvenient." He closed the fridge door with one hand while carefully holding the eggs in the other.

    There was a long pause. Then, Foggy exhaled softly. "Hit me."

    Matt hesitated. "I put some of my father's things in storage. I couldn't get rid of them, but some things... his gloves... his punching bag... there were too many memories, too many familiar smells... Having them in the house would have been overwhelming. But I could get them out of storage and bring them here, except that you don't have that much room." He lifted the butter dish off the table.

    "...And they might still trigger those memories."

    "They might," Matt admitted. "I don't know, but at this point, I'll risk it."

    "Okay. What's the other solution?"

    "Fogwell's gym," Matt replied. "It's in Hell's Kitchen. I know how to get in after hours. Lord knows I did it often enough when I was training in the first place. It's not far from the subway. I was thinking of going tonight after supper."

    "I could drive you."

    Matt smiled. "Thanks, Foggy, but you don't drive a Lincoln Town Car through Hell's Kitchen in broad daylight, let alone after dark, unless you're looking to get it keyed. Or stolen."

    "So... subway?"

    "Subway," Matt nodded.

    "Can I come?" There was a wistful note in his voice. "I'd kind of like to watch."

    Matt paused from spooning the eggs out of the frying pan and onto his plate.

    "Hey, I wouldn't mind the chance to see a bona fide hero work out."

    Matt chuckled. "My head still may not be where it needs to be," he admitted, sobering. "I might spend a lot of time falling on my face."

    "I wouldn't mind the chance to see that, too."

    This time the chuckle erupted into a full-blown laugh. "Fogwell's closes at eight," he said. "The staff is usually gone within ten minutes, but we'll leave here at eight-thirty, just in case they're slow."

    "Sounds like a plan. What are you doing until then?"

    Matt hesitated.

    "I mean, we could start reviewing your case."

    "Let's deal with Kingpin first. I don't think we'll get anywhere until that's done. I'm going to head to the library and see what I can turn up on Fisk Industries." Foggy started to say something, but Matt held up a hand. "Don't hover." He pulled off his glasses. "There are ways to not be noticed."

    "What? By taking off your glasses?" Foggy averted his eyes. "Sorry. Without them you look... very noticeable."

    Matt smiled. "Yes. But not very much like Matt Murdock. There are two things that usually make me stand out in a crowd," he pointed out. "The sunglasses and this cane." So saying, he lifted the cane, pressed a button in the center, and folded it neatly in half. "It'll fit into a coat pocket now," he said.

    His expression turned serious. "Truthfully, if Kingpin has people watching this place and tailing me, there's not much I'll be able to do to shake them. I have to assume that they know it's just you and me in here and they're going to follow anyone who isn't you. But if they're not that thorough... if they're just flashing a photo around and asking people if they've seen me, without my glasses... well, people may look at me, but they won't see me. They'll be too busy looking away."

    "Sorry."

    "Don't be. Why do you think I wear sunglasses in the first place?"

  11. #11
    Junior Member Dragonbat's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    126

    Default

    Matt spent the rest of the morning and a good part of the afternoon at the library looking at annual reports and browsing periodicals indexes for information on Fisk Industries. He hadn't expected to turn up much of anything that seemed immediately useful—criminal fronts were hardly in the habit of listing their illegal activities in public documents. Still, by the time he left, he had a fairly-good idea of the companies that were directly or indirectly under the Kingpin's control. He wasn't sure how helpful that was going to be at the moment, but it was a start.

    If nothing else, he had a fairly good idea of where not to look for work when he started job-hunting—and he was going to have to and fairly soon. He couldn't keep taking advantage of Foggy's good will and he couldn't assume that they'd be able to get his license back in short order. These things took time and he needed to do something in the interim. He just didn't know what.

  12. #12
    Junior Member Dragonbat's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    126

    Default

    A/N: Special thanks to Aiyokusama for advice on self-defense techniques.

    Chapter 5

    Foggy Nelson was having fun. He suspected that Matt was as well. From his seat on one of the empty benches lining the walls, he'd watched as his best friend had attacked a heavy bag, almost as a man possessed, pummeling out the frustrations of the last few months. He guessed that Matt needed the release, but it hadn't stopped him from wincing a bit at the force of the blows and being extremely grateful that he hadn't been the one to sell Matt out to the Kingpin.

    After a few minutes, though, Matt had stopped whaling on the bag, done some stretches, and switched to the gymnastics equipment. Foggy looked on in awe. It was one thing to realize that Matt was Daredevil. It was another thing to see him in action, out of costume. Because even though he now knew that Matt and Daredevil were one and the same, he'd still been having a hard time picturing his closest friend in that red suit and face mask. Until now. It was plain to Foggy that Matt was in his element, moving from vaulting horse to uneven bars, to rings, to floor with an ease and fluidity the like of which he had never dreamed Matt was capable. Matt might have been careless about the extent to which his blindness handicapped him, but he'd never demonstrated any kind of athletic ability before—unless pool sharking counted.

    Maybe, Foggy thought with a smile, that was the point. These acrobatics were incredible to watch, but they didn't have much to do with training for a fight, the reason that Matt had given him for coming here. No, this was more like showing off... or opening up. Matt usually maintained a certain reserve. Foggy couldn't find a vestige of it now. Matt was done with holding back. Foggy had pleaded with Matt not to shut him out. Matt was going one better. He was letting him in.

  13. #13
    Junior Member Dragonbat's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    126

    Default

    It was another twenty minutes before Matt made his way unerringly to the bench, grabbed the towel he'd left there before starting his workout, and picked up a bottle of water. He draped the towel over his shoulders, untwisted the cap with a swift motion, raised it to his lips, and drank deep.

    "Not too bored?" he asked Foggy.

    "Are you kidding me?"

    Matt smiled. "Just checking." He sighed. "I'll ache tomorrow, but it'll be worth it."

    "If you say so," Foggy said dubiously. "But you looked good out there."

    "I'm out of practice," Matt admitted. "I didn't realize it until everything started going wrong, but going out at night was a relief. I haven't done that in over a week and I think the strain was starting to tell."

    Foggy nodded. "I get that. When you're in costume, the only thing you really have to hide is your face. The rest of the time, you're hiding everything else."

    "And," Matt sighed, "from what you implied the other day, doing a lousy job of it."

    "Hey," Foggy smiled, "I noticed that stuff because of all the time we've spent hanging around each other. It's not as obvious as I might have made it sound."

    "Maybe not," Matt admitted, "but Kingpin found out somehow. And if I've been careless at times, you may not be the only one who's noticed." He took another swig of water.

    "Even if that's true," Foggy said, "what's the thought process here? Matt Murdock seems to just keep his cane around for show... ergo, he's Daredevil? C'mon, I had to find you holding your costume to start thinking back about all the little things that didn't fit properly."

    Matt nodded. "I've been trying to figure out how it could have happened. I'm careful about listening to make sure nobody's nearby when I change. I could have missed a security camera, though." He made a face. "I try not to suit up in unfamiliar places, but sometimes, I don't have a choice. It's possible that someone down on the street could have looked up and spotted me as Daredevil, slipping through my skylight."

    "Yeah," Foggy nodded back. "And if you were injured out there, maybe you wouldn't have been paying as close attention."

    "It's possible." Matt sighed. "On the one hand, Kingpin knows. Learning how he found out won't change that. On the other hand, if he has found out, others might in time. If there are precautions I can take..."

    Foggy let out a long breath. "You don't think Kingpin's going to tell anyone?"

    Matt shook his head. "He had to have known for months. If he wanted to spread the word, he would have done it by now."

    "And if he changes his mind?"

    Matt's expression turned grim. "Hopefully, I'll have dealt with him before he contemplates doing so." His fingers brushed the Braille watch on his wrist. "It's getting late," he said. "We should go. Is everything the way it was when we came in? No mud or snow tracked in?"

    "No tracks, no spilled water, and we didn't bring any food with us, so no crumbs," Foggy replied cheerfully. "Are we coming back tomorrow night?"

    "Assuming I didn't overdo it tonight," Matt said, stretching, "that's my plan. If you have something else you'd rather be doing, though..."

    "No, I'm in. Unless you'd rather I wasn't," he added belatedly.

    Matt smiled. "No, I'm actually glad of the company."

  14. #14
    Junior Member Dragonbat's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    126

    Default

    On the subway ride home, Foggy's eyes slid briefly over the other passengers in the car. He tensed.

    "Are you all right?" Matt asked softly.

    Foggy nodded. "Yeah, I thought..." The doors opened and several passengers exited. He exhaled. "Nothing. I thought I recognized one of the guys in the car from the trip down."

    Matt chewed his lower lip for a moment, as though debating what to say next. "You did," he said finally. "I told you we were being watched."

    "What?"

    He nodded. "My guess? He got off two stops early because he's either got a car or he's going to hail a cab. He knows we're probably going back to your place—if not now, then eventually. It's less suspicious than if he were to get off at our stop. Besides," he added, "someone else got on at the last stop and sat down two seats behind us—don't turn around," he added. "I recognize that wheezing breath. He tailed me from the library yesterday. We're under surveillance, but so far, all they're doing is watching."

    "So far," Foggy gulped.

    "Relax. Radar sense is 360 degrees. I can see how he's sitting. From the way he's holding himself, he's not planning an attack. No gun oil smell, so he's not armed. He's just here to make sure that we get off where we're expected to. If we don't, he'll report back that I'm on to them."

    "Them?"

    "Kingpin and his... people," Matt said. "I'm pretty sure you were right about his wanting to observe his handiwork up close." He sighed. "I'll have to face him sooner, rather than later. For now, though... I think he's waiting to see if I'm truly beaten or just taking a breather."

    Foggy winced. "You're handling this pretty calmly."

    "It's funny," Matt said slowly. "With all the stress of the last few weeks, with the hearing and the foreclosure and everything else hanging over me... it's almost a relief to know that I'm only being watched."

    "For now."

    "For now."

    Their stop was coming up and Matt rose from his seat. Foggy followed suit. The doors parted, they disembarked and made their way through the station. At the foot of the steps that led to street-level, Matt paused. "Don't turn around when we get upstairs," he cautioned. "But just so you know, the guy you spotted is about 25 feet away. I'm guessing he's standing in a doorway across the street."

    "And you're sure it's safe to go up?"

    "Reasonably."

    Foggy swallowed hard, but he kept pace with Matt and resisted the temptation to turn around and confirm their shadow. It wasn't until they were back in the apartment and he was putting the security chain on the door that he started breathing more easily.

  15. #15
    Junior Member Dragonbat's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    126

    Default

    Three nights later, Foggy waited until Matt dismounted from the parallel bars before he slowly got up from the bench and walked over, holding a water bottle.

    Matt frowned. "You didn't have to come all the way over here," he said. "I can get that myself."

    "I know."

    Matt tilted his head. "Your heart rate is spiking," he said with concern. "Are you okay?"

    Foggy took a deep breath. "Sort of," he exhaled. "I guess... Matt, I'm sorry. This whole... thing is making me jumpy. I keep tensing up every time I hear footsteps behind me... or out in the hallway. When we're walking down the street, I wonder how many of the people we pass are keeping tabs. I..."

    Matt put a hand on his shoulder. "I'm sorry," he said. "That's one reason I didn't want to involve you until now. They're after me, not you. There's no reason that you should have to start looking over your shoulder." He smiled. "I appreciate everything you've done, but it's probably best that I move on. I'll start looking for a place tom—"

    "Hold it," Foggy interrupted. "That's not was I was hinting at. If it were, I wouldn't be interrupting your practice time to dump on you."

    The relief on Matt's face yielded quickly to puzzlement. "Then...?"

    Foggy took another breath. "I'd like you to teach me a few moves. No," he barreled on quickly, "not acrobatics. I know you've practiced that stuff for years and it'd probably take more time than I've got to learn half of them. But there has to be something you can show me that might give me a better chance if Kingpin decides to... to have his goons grab me to get to you."

    Matt was silent for a long moment. His hand tightened on Foggy's shoulder. "You understand," he said slowly, "that anything I show you now is only to be used as a last resort. Your first, best defense should always be to run. However, if you can't..." His voice trailed off.

    "If I can't?" Foggy prompted when Matt didn't continue.

    "Put down the water," Matt directed. "Let's move over there." He gestured to a corner of the gym that was empty, save for a large mat on the floor. "Anyone looking in from the street has a good view of the fitness equipment, but that corner should be out of their line of sight."

    "And you know this, how?"

    Matt smiled. "When I was in elementary school, I used to stop by on my way home to watch Dad train. He didn't want me to come in. He kept telling me I needed a quiet place to study, which the gym never was during the day. But I spent a lot of time looking in the window." His face turned serious. "You're wearing a sweater," he said, all business. "Do you have a t-shirt under it?"

    "Yes."

    "Lose the sweater. And next time, if you have track pants, you might want to bring them..."

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •