Characters: Matt Murdock, Foggy Nelson
Spoilers: Daredevil Vol 1, #s 203, 227, 228
Word Count: 2090
Story 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.
Chapter Summary: Matt wakes up the next morning and tries to come to grips with yesterday`s events.
Note: I am borrowing heavily from Frank Miller`s portrayal of Matt`s depression in Daredevil, Vol 1, 228. I apologize for any inaccuracies.
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...
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.
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."
"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 it 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?"