dragonbat2006: Canon Error (Default)
[personal profile] dragonbat2006
Title: When the Rest of the World Walks Out
Author: [personal profile] dragonbat2006
Fandom: Daredevil
Characters: Matt Murdock, Foggy Nelson, Wilson Fisk, Karen Page
Rating: T
Genre(s): Hurt/Comfort, Action, Angst, Drama
Spoilers: Daredevil Vol 1 #75; 231
Warnings: Drug withdrawal
Word Count: 5347
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: While Matt rushes to save his friends, Karen has a plan of her own.

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17

A/N: Some dialogue written by Frank Miller and lifted directly from Daredevil Vol. 1, No. 231. Reference also made to events in Daredevil Vol. 1, No. 75.

A/N: Some changes made to the car in the first scene in order to comply with the laws of physics.

A/N: Just want to send a belated shout-out to Christine, author of the Daredevil blog, "The Other Murdock Papers". Her posts have been an invaluable resource, especially when it comes to DD canon not yet available on Comixology or Marvel Unlimited. (Example: DD #75).

Chapter 18

Lying on the roof of a moving car, Matt was relieved to find that his ribs barely bothered him now. He had enough to contend with just managing not to fall off of a smooth surface with lousy handholds, cruising at thirty miles per hour. He'd been able to loop his belt around one bar of the roof rack. Now, he clung to it with both hands, well aware that one sharp turn or sudden stop might prove lethal—and trying not too hard to think about it. If he thought about it too much, his hands were going to start sweating and he really couldn't afford that at the moment. Besides, he had other things to worry about. With the landmarks rushing past him, he had no way to get his bearings. The wind roaring in his ears made it hard for him to hear the conversation going on inside the vehicle. Still, he pressed one ear to the car top and persevered.

"…You will be deposited into an alley," a nasal voice droned, "beside an apartment building. You will climb the fire escape and enter said building through the roof entrance, which shall be unlocked. You will descent yourself…" Matt's jaw tensed. Maybe it was hard for him to recognize the speaker with all of the background noise interfering, but he knew who it was. There was only one man on Kingpin's payroll who could butcher the English language quite that painfully—at least, Matt hoped that was the case. It was a blessing that with the wind in his face and the car's windows up, Matt couldn't smell the Aqua Velva the flunky was probably drenched with. If his gag reflex had kicked in, he might have slackened his grip on his belt. As it was…

…As it was, he was managing. Managing not to kick his way in through the windshield, intent on tearing the occupants of the car limb from limb, even when he heard the man give instructions to 'cause anatomic damage to one Franklin Nelson and whosoever else may habitate the apartment.' Only the realization that doing so would likely result in three deaths—one of which would be his own—kept him from stopping things before they had a chance to move further. Instead, when the car was forced to slow down to safely navigate a street which the snow plows hadn't yet cleared Matt leaped off and into a drift about eight inches deep. He sniffed the air and smiled. General Tso chicken and smoked pork from a Hunan restaurant mingling with freshly-baked sourdough rye bread—at this hour of the evening, it had to be from a 24-hour bakery… diesel fumes from a service station… hotdogs, fries, and pretzels from the pushcarts… he knew exactly where he had to be if he was picking up those smells in close proximity. And he knew a shortcut to his destination.

He picked himself up out of the snow drift and made his way east.

Karen waited by the elevator and jabbed the button repeatedly. What was taking so long? As soon as Foggy came to, he was going to come chasing after her and he wouldn't be out cold for long; she hadn't hit him that hard. What if she had? Maybe, in her carelessness, she'd killed him. Like she could have killed Matt. Tears blurred her eyes as she pressed the button again. It wasn't getting there fast enough. She gave up and ran for the stairs.

Her heart was thudding in her chest as she burst out of the building. Maybe if she talked to Paulo, acted nice and contrite, he'd just slap her around a little. Maybe he'd even have a fix for her—and she really needed one now. She hated herself for thinking that way, but if she had any chance of keeping it together right now, she needed the stuff. Paulo would understand. And he was always carrying. Who was she kidding? Paulo was going to kill her. Forget that. Think of Foggy. Think of Matt. Matt would lay down his life for you… for Foggy. Well, Karen, old girl… it's your lucky night. Tonight, you get to play the hero. Just this once, you get to save the day. Her hands were shaking. How the hell did Matt do this, day after day and night after night?

She scanned the street, looking for Paulo. That yellow trench coat should have stood out like a sore thumb. When she didn't see him, she took a hesitant step forward. A strong hand grabbed her and hauled her roughly into the alley beside Foggy's building. "Karen, baby!"

She ignored the genial tone. Three days in a car and almost another day in a hotel with him had taught her that he was always at his most cheerful right before he let his temper burst free. "Paulo," she said, forcing a smile and trying to sound calm, "we've got to talk."

"Sure, baby," Paulo replied, grinning back. Without warning, he slammed her head into the brick wall. Then he laughed, low and menacing. "Let's talk..."

Matt waited at the top of the stairwell, just behind the door leading out to the roof and tried to ignore the sound of gunfire down below. He should be dealing with that, he thought with a pang of guilt. Just like he should be doing something about the brutal beating that Kingpin's assassin was delivering to the spy-cum-handler who'd been briefing him. Not that the thug didn't deserve some roughing up—Matt might have dished it out himself, had he been in costume—but this guy wasn't stopping and Matt knew he'd never make it down to the alley in time to make. He could just stand here, waiting, his fists clenched in impotent fury as he heard Vibram boot soles clamber up metal stairs that creaked under the climber's weight. By the time the man made it to the rooftop, Matt was seething. The person whom he was about to face was here to murder the only friends he had left. Oh, he wasn't the real enemy; not the man Matt really wanted to face. No, this assassin was no Kingpin… but he would do. Matt smiled grimly and slid the heavy iron bolt into position, locking the stairwell door from the inside.

He heard the hired killer stalk toward the door, feet crunching on dead leaves and concrete, heard a grunt and then felt the door he was leaning on shift ever-so-slightly forward in response to a yank on its handle. If what he'd overheard in the car on his way over, and in the alley a moment ago, were anything to go by, Matt thought he could predict the assassin's next move.

Sure enough, the heavy wooden door shuddered in response to two heavy fists attempting to batter it down. The wood cracked and buckled. Perfect. Matt balled up his own leather-gloved fist and lashed out, punching through the stressed door, to where he guessed the killer was standing. His knuckles grazed bone and struck muscle and cartilage—a throat shot, corroborated by the sound of his adversary wheezing as the blow knocked the wind out of him. Good. Matt burst through the remains of the door and delivered a twisting split-kick to the startled man on the other side.

The black sedan looked purple-gray as it pulled into a closer parking spot on the dimly-lit street. The two men had been watching the apartment for hours, waiting to see whether Page or Nelson would attempt to leave the apartment before Kingpin's costumed hitman reached it. By the time they got out of the car, Page had been apprehended by the lowlife in the yellow trench coat, whom they'd observed earlier.

As both men drew their guns, one turned to the other. "Both?" he asked rhetorically.

His companion snorted. "'Course," he replied. His first shot clipped Trench Coat in the shoulder. The man cried out in rage and pain. Then he grabbed Page's arm and took off at a run, dragging her behind him. They wouldn't get far—not in the confines of that narrow alley and not with two armed men firing at them. The shooter smiled. "Boss didn't say we had to do 'em quick," he pointed out to his friend. "Let's have a little fun." He fired deliberately wide of his mark and chuckled. "I always did like a nice game of cat and mouse…"

Up above, Matt was releasing weeks of pent-up frustration. At first, his blows were forceful, but clumsy; a jab to his opponent's jaw sounded impressive, but didn't cause any damage.

"Five B," the thug said calmly, with a smile in his voice. He lashed out with his billy-club and Matt felt white-hot pain to a barely-healed rib. "Five B." Matt barely had time to flinch away from the second billy-club, so that it only grazed his jaw instead of breaking it.

Focus, Matt, he told himself. He had to get off of the defensive. He had to stop letting himself be goaded. Losing to Kingpin when he was at his lowest was one thing. Losing to a common thug when he was more than halfway recovered was completely unacceptable. He had to let go of his fury and concentrate on putting this guy down as quickly and cleanly as possible.

"Five B…"

This time, Matt knew where the strike was coming from. He lashed out with two fingers and struck the pressure point on his opponent's wrist. The billy-club dropped from nerveless fingers. Matt struck out again, this time to his adversary's throat. The other man dropped defenseless to his knees, down and—after one powerful kick that sent him reeling backwards to crack his head on the concrete rooftop—out.

For a moment, Matt stood, his head cocked, listening. A thin, satisfied smile flashed briefly on his face. The other guy was still breathing, his heart rate—elevated from the fight—was slowing down normally. Matt didn't imagine that he'd done any lasting damage. He pulled off his gloves and crouched down next to the fallen man. As he'd thought, the guy was about his own height and build—Kingpin had, at least, chosen a credible imposter on that score. He smiled. It seemed that he wasn't going to need to sew his own costume after all.

Gunshots from below and a too-familiar too-scared heartbeat startled him. Karen. What was she doing—? It didn't matter what she was doing outside. It didn't even matter that Matt probably couldn't make it to the pavement in time. Thanks to the billy-clubs that his unconscious adversary had been carrying, he wouldn't need to…

One minute, Karen had been sure that Paulo was about to murder her. The next, he was standing in front of her, firing a handgun at the people who were trying to kill them. Part of her wanted to run; part of her was sure that running would get her killed even faster; part of her wished that the sound of the gunshots didn't make it so hard for her to think. And then, Paulo was flying backwards, falling into her, almost knocking her over, as he tumbled to the ground, red blood stark against the front of his white dress shirt.

Forgetting what he had been doing to her a moment ago, Karen bent over him, examining the wound. As she did, she saw something else poking out of the inner pocket of his trench coat and her heart began to pound.

"I'm hit, Baby," Paulo whispered. "Get the gun."

Intent on the syringe in his coat pocket, she barely registered his instruction.

"No…" Paulo gasped, realizing what she was doing. "You stinking junkie… ripping me off."

He was right. She was nothing but a stinking junkie kneeling over a dying man in a dead-end alley. Somehow, that seemed to sum up her life. It didn't matter. She was dead anyway. Might as well get one last high. Nobody would know. Nobody would care. Nobody would even know she was gone. That wasn't true. Foggy would miss her. And Matt. But they'd be better off without her. Everyone would be. Dimly, she heard a gun cock. Paulo must have rallied enough for one last shot. It figured. One last shot for him. One last fix for her. If she could just find a good vein, get the stuff into her… It was good stuff. Maybe she'd be too high to feel the bullet when it came. I love you, Matt, she thought.

From behind her came a gasp of pain mingled with shock and the thud of steel on concrete. Instinctively, Karen glanced over her shoulder and her eyes widened as she took in the icicle impaling Paulo's shooting arm and the gun lying on the pavement. And then, a figure touched down between her and Paulo, and something white skimmed past her ear to knock one of the shooters at the mouth of the alley out cold. She saw the second man lying in a pool of blood. So, Paulo's shooting had accomplished that much. And then the figure turned and held out his arms to her. "Karen?"

The still-full syringe dropped from her fingers and she ran to him. "Matt!"

He put his arms around her and held her close. Sobbing, she hugged him back. "Matt."

They clung to each other for what seemed a lifetime, but yet, no time at all. "Come on," Matt said gently. "Let's get you back inside before you freeze."

"What about you?" she asked, as she let him pull her to her feet. Looking over his shoulder, she could see the syringe gleaming against the snow… beckoning to her. Gleaming like Paulo's gold tooth. Beckoning, but meaning no good. She knew it now and she'd known it then. The difference was… back then she hadn't cared. But even now, she was tempted. "Matt…" she whispered. "Behind you. The needle." If he didn't do something about it now, she might still find a pretext to go back to pick it up before anyone else did. "Someone might find it."

If Matt had any suspicions that part of her still yearned for that needle, he kept them to himself as he stamped down hard, crushing it and sending its contents into the snow.

Karen let out a long shuddering breath. The danger was past now. She was safe. Matt was safe. Foggy was…

"Ohmigosh!" she exclaimed. "Foggy!"

"He should be fine," Matt reassured her.

"No. I… I knocked him out with a flower pot."

"You what?"

Oddly, Matt sounded more startled than angry. Karen gulped. "Paulo was shooting at us. I thought if I went with him, he'd leave Foggy alone and I knew Foggy wouldn't let me go. I had to do it to keep him safe." Her shoulders slumped. "Pretty stupid, huh?"

"I think," Matt said, smiling oddly, "I'm not going to answer that right now. Come on. Let's make sure Foggy's okay and then…" his smile grew wider, "I need to get something off the roof."

Foggy was sitting on the sofa leaning his head back on something lumpy and wrapped in a towel. He groaned when Matt and Karen entered. "I thought we agreed," he said pointedly, "what happens in Delvadia stays in Delvadia."

"What?" Karen asked, glancing from Foggy to Matt in confusion.

Matt tugged at his collar. "Uh… you remember downstairs when I didn't agree with you that knocking Foggy out with a flower pot was stupid—?"

"You didn't?" Foggy interrupted.

"Uh huh," Karen replied, ignoring Foggy.

"Well," Matt admitted, "when Foggy and I had to go to Delvadia on business, I… um… needed to get away and, rather than trying to come up with a reason or just giving him the slip—"

"Hang on," Foggy interjected. "Knocking me out with a flower pot wasn't stupid?"

Matt sighed. "All I meant was that if I agreed with you," he squeezed Karen's shoulder, "It'd be more than a little hypocritical, seeing as I did the same thing, a few years back."

"Y-you did?" Karen gaped.

"Well, I used a pressure point strike. Less likely to cause serious damage, but a bit more painful." He jerked his head toward Foggy. "Right?"

"Are we seriously having this discussion?" Foggy demanded. He leaned forward and the towel behind him shifted and released several melting ice cubes, along with a trickle of water.

Karen crossed to the sofa and flung her arms around Foggy's neck. "Sorry," she mumbled. "I just did it because—"

"You had to change into the Scarlet Witch?" Foggy guessed.

Karen giggled. "No." She clamped her lips together, trying to rein in her laughter, but another giggle broke through. Matt chuckled. And finally, Foggy wrapped one arm around Karen, extended his other toward Matt, and let loose with a hearty laugh of his own.

Matt was halfway to the sofa when the apartment door fell in with a mighty crash. And a rough voice bellowed, "FIVE B!"

Time seemed to freeze for a moment. Then Matt took a step forward. "Foggy, Karen," he said tightly, "get out of here. Take the fire escape down to the street." He settled into a fighting stance. "I said move!" he snapped.

"Towel full of ice on the sofa," Foggy said in an undertone. "Try not to smash the TV."

For an instant, Matt smiled. "Got it. Go." He moved until he stood between the thug and the entrance to the kitchen, shielding his friends as they made their escape.

Kingpin's assassin charged at him then, and Matt stepped out of the way, and gave the guy a hard shove in the back as he hurtled past. The thug landed heavily on Foggy's coffee table with a resounding crash that almost drowned out the sound of splintering wood. As Matt bent down, reaching for the thug's neck, the man kicked back, catching him in the stomach. Matt felt the air whoosh out of his lungs and a sharp pain from his ribs nearly brought him low. They weren't broken; he would have heard the crack. They were just bruised.

"Five B," the thug growled, springing toward him. Matt spun away. The guy was big, yes. Strong, yes. Angry, yes. But he was also hurt, clumsy, stupid…

…In other words, in the same sorry shape in which Matt had found himself some weeks earlier. He winced, then—for a reason that had nothing to do with that kick to the torso. He could hear sirens down below. The fight in the alley was over, but it looked as though police reinforcements were only just getting here now. The sound distracted him for an instant, though, and the thug knocked him clear across the room. He slid across the already-shaky coffee table—which collapsed entirely under his weight—and slammed his upper back into the edge of the sofa seat. Matt struggled to his feet and, as he did so, his hand came down on something bulky, cold, and damp. He smiled. The thug was charging him again and Matt swung the towel-wrapped ice in a wide arc and smacked him in the head. The thug reeled back. The towel opened releasing its contents. Most of the melting cubes had fused together into a large clump, which shattered on impact with the floor. The thug fell back into the armchair. He snarled and lurched for Matt again. As he started forward, his foot came down on a large piece of ice and he lost his balance. His arms flailed as he tried to regain it. That was when Matt delivered a powerful kick to his jaw and the thug fell back and cracked the back of his skull on the corner of the TV set. He struggled to rise for a moment before he slumped back down with a grunt. He didn't move again, though Matt could hear his ragged breathing.

Matt bent over the unconscious thug. He was dimly aware of two heart beats and two sets of footsteps entering from the kitchen. "I thought I told you to get out," he murmured.

"Yeah," Foggy agreed. "But we figured if he got past you, we could always run then."

"I think the set's okay," Matt remarked, "but you might need to get a new coffee table." He found the edge of the costume's cowl and lifted it up and off the thug's face. Then he tackled the shirt.

"Need a hand?" Karen asked.

Matt was about to refuse, when he realized that the police would likely be coming around to each apartment to question the residents. The faster he could get the costume off the thug and safely hidden way, the better. "Get the boots off," he directed.

"Don't worry about the table," Foggy said. "I got it for my first place, way back when we graduated. Debbie always hated it; she even tried donating it to Goodwill." He sniffed. "I had to chase after the truck for six blocks to get it back. Wish I'd told them to take the Memphis Milano… thing she bought to replace it. When I moved out, I took it with me, but…" he shrugged, "it's not like I really loved it. More like I hated the alternative."

Matt managed to yank the costume's shirt up and over the thug's head. As he eased it past the arms, Karen fumbled with the trunks. "I'll replace it," he promised.

"No rush," Foggy said. "I can probably improvise something with stacks of old textbooks. Put a tablecloth over them and nobody'll notice."

Matt reached for the waistband of the tights. As he began unrolling them, he winced, as his hands encountered flesh, rather than fabric.

"Eww!" Karen exclaimed in disgust. "He went commando?"

"I was already planning to wash it before wearing it," Matt admitted. "I guess putting it through the cycle a couple of extra times won't hurt." He sniffed the air and concentrated. Sweat… adrenaline… Irish Spring soap and Head and Shoulders Shampoo… a number of other scents coming from the four of them and sundry objects in the apartment. Fortunately, one scent that he did not detect was that of blood. Running his fingers lightly over his attacker's body, he detected several areas on his skin that were warmer—evidence of bruising. But there was no blood. He smiled. That simplified things.

"Foggy, call 911. Report that we've just been attacked by a naked man whom we've managed to subdue."

"But the cops are—"

"And when they get here, they might be suspicious if nobody's phoned them. Make the call. I'm going to hide the costume."

"They'll need a search warrant to go snooping," Foggy pointed out.

Matt shook his head. "Kingpin sent this guy. Let's not take the chance that he's got people among the first responders. I'm hiding this."

By the time Matt had the costume draped over the lower bar of a hanger in Foggy's closet (with one of Foggy's suits hanging over it to conceal it completely), he could hear other voices and footsteps coming down the hall. He had to hurry. He considered the boots. On their own, there was nothing about them that screamed 'Daredevil' apart from the color. He put them neatly in one corner of the closet. Then he walked to the bed. Bending down, he shoved mask and belt between the iron bedstead and the box springs above. That ought to be good enough to fool any cursory inspections. He could look for a better hiding place later.

Smiling, he walked back into the living room to await the police.

"So you're saying the guy just barged in here in his birthday suit," the officer repeated. "You have no idea why."

"Correct," Foggy replied. "All I know is that one minute, we're sitting here talking and then the door falls in," he gestured to the pieces of splintery wood lying just inside the doorway, "he shows up," he pointed to the nude man on the floor, now handcuffed and beginning to come to, "and then there's a blur of red and Daredevil's telling us to get out of here."

The second officer looked up from his notepad. "So you left."

"Yeah, we went into the kitchen to get down the fire escape. Mac was already in there. He missed all the excitement."

"That true?" the first officer asked.

Matt nodded. "I didn't see a thing."

"Go on," urged the second officer.

"Well," Karen said, "we started out the door and I heard a crash. Foggy told Mac to get me to safety. We started down the steps, but Foggy waited on the landing."

The first officer glanced at Foggy. "Why?"

Foggy sighed. "Because I was stupid and I was worried about my apartment and it's not like I usually get a chance to talk to a real life superhero and I was hoping to get a chance to say 'hi' to Daredevil when it was all over, but by the time I thought it was safe to check the living room, DD was gone and this guy was lying there."

"We were halfway down when we realized that there'd been some kind of shoot-out right at the bottom of the fire escape," Matt added. "I didn't know if it was a good idea to walk into the middle of a crime scene and I think we both realized that Foggy wasn't with us at that point, so we went back upstairs."

There was a knock on the wall by the doorway and everyone glanced toward its source. Two EMTs entered carrying a stretcher between them. "That's the guy?" one of them asked rhetorically, gesturing toward the prone thug.

The first officer nodded. "All yours."

They watched as the EMTs eased the thug onto the stretcher and covered him with a blanket. The second officer leaned over and unfastened one of the handcuffs and refastened it around one of the siderails of the stretcher, chaining the thug to the bed.

The second officer surveyed the others. "Right. We've got your statements now. If you think of anything else," he handed a business card to Foggy, "call us. If we need any more information, we'll be in touch."

They left through the empty doorway. Foggy sighed. "I guess I'd better call the landlord. We could stay in a hotel for the night, but my stuff…"

Matt nodded. "Do you have duct tape? We can secure a blanket to the doorway for privacy and… I'm a pretty light sleeper." He smiled. "And I won't go banging into stuff in the dark."

Foggy sighed. Then he picked up the phone, dialed a number, and spoke briefly, relaying—among other things—Matt's suggestion about taping up the blanket. When he hung up, he sounded a good deal more relaxed. "He knows a guy," he explained. "The door will be replaced by noon tomorrow—which means I'll need to work from home. So, I guess I've got another call to make and if Kelco doesn't like it… they can always fire me."

"You could quit," Matt pointed out.

"If I quit now, it'll look worse," Foggy retorted. "It'll make Kingpin think I know I'm working for him and that I know he sent Nature Boy after us. I've got to stick this out for a little while, yet."

Matt sighed. "You're making a strong case for it. Fine. Just…"

"Yes, Mom," Foggy groaned. "I'll be careful."

While he and Matt set about taping up the blanket, Karen turned on the TV. After a moment, she sucked in her breath and then let it out slowly. "They got him," she whispered. "They arrested Paolo. It's over."

Matt finished securing his corner of the blanket at the same time that Foggy did his. Then he joined Karen on the sofa and wrapped his arm around her. She leaned into him. "It's over," she repeated.

Wilson Fisk read the report on his desk with mounting dismay. Four men dead—two of whom had been on his payroll. The police who had discovered them, much to his annoyance, had not been. They had opened an investigation into the employment records of the deceased; he knew that much. He had a legal team on it. Not one from Kelco—he'd made certain of that.

His assassin was in custody. The physician who had signed his release papers from the psychiatric institution had fled to Florida. His history had preceded him and he was now working as a gardener. Fisk had him under surveillance. When the furor died down, it was always possible that the man might be of some use to him.

Two police officers were dead. He debated whether to send flowers to the funerals. On the one hand, it would help to cement the reputation he was trying to build as a community leader.

He picked up the telephone and dialed a number. "Your progress with the Businessmen's Association?" He frowned at the response from the party on the other end. "Brian Colan. Executive vice president of Roxxon. He has a daughter, I believe. Lorraine. Arrange to have her arm broken. Ensure that Colan knows why, and what he needs to do to safeguard her other limbs." He hung up the phone, wondering whether he wasn't overreacting to recent events. His didn't like to show his hand often. But recent events were beginning to crack the façade that he had so carefully crafted about him and as those cracks grew wider, he feared that his efforts to patch them were growing sloppier. It would all be worth it if things held together long enough for his damage control to stick.

He turned to the second page of the report and his frown deepened. They'd arrested Kemp. That was trouble. Kemp had been the assassin's handler; perhaps the only person at the scene who could point a finger back to him. Prudence would suggest eliminating him. Unfortunately, he'd been doing far too much housecleaning recently—eliminating the chain of individuals that could link him to Page; clearing away anything and anyone who could connect him to Manolis. Kemp had been with him for years. He reached for the phone once more—this time to arrange for legal counsel.

He was still no closer to determining Murdock's whereabouts. According to the police reports, he'd been there to rescue his friends, but nobody had sighted him since. Judging from the state in which the assassin had been found, Fisk believed that he could safely assume that Murdock had his costume back. Surely it was only a matter of time before he would be spotted once more.

Time, though, was one commodity that was increasingly in short supply.

The phone rang before he could pick up the receiver. He picked it up on the second ring. "Yes?"

What he heard caused him to fling the phone across the room in a rare display of temper. Lois had been talking. And she knew far too much of his activities for him to ignore her disloyalty. He needed to deal with this immediately.

And then he remembered. His informant had stated that she was due to grant an exclusive interview to one Ben Urich three days from now. A slow smile spread his lips. Perhaps he didn't need to handle things at this precise moment. Yes… he could definitely wait another three days…

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