Karen must have wondered why Foggy was so happy the next day, even with the news of the Punisher’s arrest. She tried not to be too amorous, not around Karen. They were both aware their poor secretary had feelings for Matt that went beyond the platonic, which sucked, but there wasn’t much anyone could do about it, unless they could find someone else to set her up with. But that day Foggy couldn’t resist stealing kisses whenever one of them came into the other’s office. During random intervals, she found herself looking at a document, or out at the Hudson, or at her two colleagues working away, and thinking, This is it. We’re keeping this. Matt isn’t going to die or get arrested. He’s going to stay with me. We’re going to be Nelson and Murdock until we grow old.
Her happiness seemed to catch on. At the beginning of the day Matt had been a bit wistful; this obviously had not been an easy decision for him to make. But by the time they walked home from Josie’s at the end of it he was practically humming. “Careful, Matt,” she teased him. “Keep going like this, you just might end up happy. And for a Catholic boy, that’s a pretty dangerous thing.”
“Let’s get home and I’ll show you exactly how happy I am,” he replied, in *that* tone, with *that* self-assured smirk, and oh, it had been too long since Foggy had seen that. It sent the heat flaring between her legs, and they now needed to be back in their apartment fast.
They made it up the stairs as fast as they could, but by then Foggy was soaking wet, thinking about the epic lovemaking coming up. It was totally going be epic. Like, lengthy poems worthy. She might even write them in her head in months to come.
The door slammed behind them and they were up against it, Matt pressing her into it with all that strength, all those muscles, now for nothing and no one but her. He was hard already, and she thought he might just take her right there against the door, at least if he didn’t come in his pants first, and she was just fine with that.
And then they heard the chuckle.
Instantly Matt pulled away and staggered back, his face filled with fear. Which confirmed what Foggy herself already thought, because she could never forget that hated sound.
Still, she didn’t quite believe it, until she turned, and saw the one person in the world she had most wanted to never see again standing there, at the other end of the entryway. “Elektra!”
“A few days later,” Matt finished, “a package arrived for me with these sheets,” he indicated the sheets he and Foggy had just made love on, but it hadn’t at all been what she’d spent the day anticipating. “No return address. All that came with it is a note in braille that said only Goodbye. The rest you know. I’d concussed Sweeney enough that by the time the police came to arrest him he had no memory of anything that had happened that night.”
She and Wanda had been the ones to deliver the news of his arrest to Matt, with Pietro telling them he hadn’t managed to get him to eat. They’d hope it would cheer him up. “And we had no idea,” she said. “I always thought she was no more than some stupid rebellious princess.”
“Oh, maybe she was,” shrugged Matt. “Just a little more than I’d known.” But he sounded like he believed there was more to her than they even knew now.
“I wish she hadn’t bothered with the condolences over Pietro,” she sighed. “Or the congratulations for our marriage. She goes on claiming she was sad when she heard about him, and she never gave a jot for any of the three of us.”
Matt’s faced twitched, as if he wanted to deny this, though thankfully he didn’t. He kicked her out, Foggy reminded herself. Refused her even as a paying client when God knows we could do with some of those. She shouldn’t even need that reassure, she thought. She was supposed to know beyond a doubt that Matt would never again be anyone’s but hers.
He seemed a little better the next morning. The familiar walls of their office put them both more at ease, and when Karen came in with the coffee, Foggy tried to tell herself it didn’t matter. It was still over. They were still just lawyers again.
Then they found out Karen had snuck into Frank Castle’s house, and she didn’t even know what to think anymore. “We need normal,” she protested to the both of her colleagues as she fled into her office.
And then she was on the phone with the bank, and her blood was running cold. When she walked back out and told them who had called, it was no wonder poor Karen assumed the worst. She must have been confused by Foggy’s tone as she said, “Actually, they called to tell me there was a deposit. A big one.”
But Matt realized immediately, same as she did. She watched him stammer out words to Karen about a potential client and not being sure it was going to work out. Then she was watching him go out the door, and she ignored Karen's, “Foggy, what on Earth is going on? Do you know?” to race out after him.
When she caught up with him, by unspoken agreement they went together into the stairwell to make sure they weren’t overheard. That gave Foggy time to think about what she was going to say, but it didn’t make her change her mind about it: “You shouldn’t go talk to that woman alone.”
“Foggy…” Matt started, a clear protest.
“I saw what she did to you!” she hissed at him. “I’ve seen you get beaten to within an inch of your life and look less broken. I’m not letting you face her without me.” This was a legitimate concern. It totally was.
“Then you’ll have to come with me later,” said Matt. “But right now, I’m not planning to talk to her.”
Foggy understood. And yeah, Matt had to do this one alone. “All right,” she said. “But the minute you go to talk to her, I go too.”
“I promise, I’ll bring you.” He gave her a quick kiss, and then started down the stairs.
Foggy stared after him, her happiness from the previous day now completely destroyed. Because if there was one thing Matt obviously going off to spy on Elektra right now told her, it was that no matter what happened, he couldn’t stop being Daredevil.
True to his word, that night Foggy followed Matt to the door of Elektra’s penthouse. She could tell as he stood there, his head slightly bent, that the memories flooding him weren’t all unpleasant, but that wasn’t making him any less angry at his ex. “It’s open,” he said softly, and pushed the door aside without knocking before she could protest.
Even under the circumstances she took a curious look around the place as they walked in. There had been many a night when she’d laid in her cheap dorm bed, kept awake by anxiety and jealousy, and wondered what the place Elektra Natchios called home looked like. She had just enough time to take in the breathtaking view of the city and the wide walls before they heard the voice up above. “Knew you missed me. Your rooftop act was cute.”
“Y-yeah, n-nothing compared to your damsel in distress one.” It made Foggy hurt, how her husband’s voice trembled.
“Oh, you’re right,” she laughed, as she descended to her lower floor. “I didn’t really need you. I told you, maybe I just missed you. Don’t worry, you can keep the money.”
“Elektra,” said Matt when she had reached the bottom of the stairs, “I came here to ask you a question, and I’d like you to answer it.” He fumbled for Foggy’s hand; she grasped it tight. “Why did you take me to that mansion?”
She’d poured herself a drink. “That’s your question? For fun.”
“For fun? That’s fun for you? To try to push me into killing a man?”
“I didn’t push you into anything,” she said, walking towards them. “And you didn’t kill anyone.” She was looking at Matt like Foggy wasn’t even there. “But you wanted to-“
“Do you have any idea what he was like when you left him?!” Foggy burst out, unable to stand it any longer. “He nearly missed a final because you hurt him so badly. We had to struggle to get him out of bed! Pietro would bring him food and stare at him until he ate it-”
Elektra was finally forced to acknowledge her presence, then. “I admit,” she said, “I was surprised when I heard you two were actually married.”
“You never knew anything about her,” growled Matt. “You didn’t even know the truth about me.”
“Oh,” she shrugged, turning back to him, “I did know something. I knew when I left she was the one left in the wings. If you’d just dated, I wouldn’t have found that surprising at all. But really, Foggy, you expect me to believe…”
“You don’t believe things unless it suits you too,” Matt interrupted, and he was probably only being protective, but it irked Foggy, how now he was talking over her too. “You act like you have some window into my soul…” But then suddenly he trailed off, head tilted, and both women knew why pretty quickly. “Someone…someone’s coming.”
Elektra sighed as if she was confronted with some inevitable annoyance, and walked off as Matt continued to listen, and Foggy felt the foreboding even before he spoke of the silencer in the lobby.
And then Elektra was coming out changed, tossing Matt her gloves, and they were talking about the Japanese mafia, and then that she’d known they were coming, and next thing Foggy knew, her husband had grabbed Elektra and nearly thrown her against the mirror, and for one crazy moment she thought Matt was actually going to kill her. “You planned this, you’re not sorry, it’s all just manipulation with you-over and over you again, you just manipulate, and now are you trying to get my wife killed?!”
“Matthew!” She pulled free of him way too easily. “I didn’t expect her to be here. I didn’t expect any of that, and I certainly didn’t think you’d be so foolish as to let her come with you!”
“As if I’d stay away when I saw how he came out of it last time you got your claws on him,” said Foggy, trying not to let show how terrified she was in that moment.
“Well, you don’t need to get hurt,” she said, and darted back into her bedroom.
“No, she doesn’t,” Matt agreed. He took Foggy’s hand again and turned to head out. “You can handle them yourself.”
“Do I need to push you this time?” Elektra reemerged holding two items. The first was a key which she tossed to Foggy. “Here. Lock yourself in my bedroom until this is over.”
But Foggy could only look at the other thing she was holding and demand, “How did you get that?!” It was a bag, zipped open, and in it she could see Matt’s mask.
Foggy spent the entire fight standing, facing the locked door, wincing at every noise. That she could identify her husband’s grunts just made it worse, the reminder that any moment now he could be dealt a fatal blow.
She did not look back at the bed. She did not want to have to think about Matt fucking Elektra on it. She supposed that was kind of ridiculous; they slept in her sheets, after all, and while she’d never been between the second set, she’d had him plenty of times in the first, according to Pietro. But everything felt different and wrong and painful tonight.
Finally the blows and grunts and thuds stopped, and she heard Elektra ask, “Hungry?”
“Not really,” she heard Matt snap back, before he knocked on the door. “We’ve got them all knocked out. Come on, Foggy, let’s get out of here before they wake up or more show up.”
She opened the door to find him clad in the suit, holding the mask in his hands, not much blood and no injuries. He mostly looked concerned, but when she looked at his eyes, the way he was holding himself, even the way he was breathing, she forced herself to face what she saw: Matt invigorated, energized, sated. He was always good at sensing her distress, though it might have stunned him when she flinched away from his hand. “It’s all right, Foggy,” he said. “It’s over.” He genuinely believed that, she thought.
“You know better,” said Elektra. “Really, Matthew. Besides, it’s almost time for breakfast. We should go out. All three of us. My treat.”
“It’s way too early for breakfast, and I am done with you,” Matt said.
They must have both been utterly shocked when Foggy said quietly, “No, Matt, you’re not.”
She took in Matt’s open mouth, and Elektra’s extremely intrigued expression, and said, “I know, Matt, that right now you truly believe if we walk away from this, you’ll put that suit back in the bottom of the trunk and that’ll be that. And maybe if this whole business with the Yakuza was smaller, it could be. Or if it was bigger, and we could just call Wanda and her new friends.” Somewhere in her, Foggy was holding out hope it would eventually get big enough for that. “But mafia people are below the Avengers’ scope, and meanwhile, if they’re really causing trouble in Hell’s Kitchen….I know you, Matt. Sooner or later you won’t be able to stand not going out and fighting them any longer. You don’t have this conversation with Elektra now, you’ll end up having it in a situation where she’ll manipulate you into not fetching me first and giving her all the control. So I think maybe we had better go to breakfast.”
Elektra was looking at Foggy as if she was actually impressed. That was the first time that had ever happened. But she hadn’t lost any of her arrogant aloof amusement. “Heed your wife, Matthew,” she said. “That’s what husbands always ought to do, remember.”
“Don’t even,” Foggy snapped at her, to keep herself from launching into a rant on how she knew perfectly well Elektra was about to do everything she could to keep Matt from heeding her.
Matt clung to her more tightly than usual on the way downstairs. Given how many times he’d been to this place, Foggy thought, he probably wouldn’t have needed even the cane, even had he been a normal blind person. She was left certain he was doing it out of fear, something she had thought he’d never do.
Then again, there were a few things she’d thought he’d never do, at least not again.
The conversation that had happened in the diner, where Matt had refused to eat (Foggy had not, though; she was a penniless lawyer and she was going to get food from this rich brat if she could, dammit), had been tense enough. Foggy had at least enjoyed a couple of minutes of thinking maybe this wasn’t something Matt would feel the need to get involved in after all, but of course it had been bigger than the Yakuza just going after Elektra. Then those words came out of her mouth and the woman who had uttered them was flippantly watching two people barely restraining themselves from losing their tempers.
Matt just heaved a sigh, and said, “Oh God, you have a pair on you, saying that with my wife sitting right here with us. You really think I would cheat on her, especially with you?”
“Oh, you’ve never considered a threesome, you two?” she scoffed. “I know you’re both bisexual, and I also know there are plenty of cute boys and girls who would happily let Foggy get her hands on them in return for being allowed to get their hands on you. In fact, I think your pretty secretary might just be among them, isn’t she?”
“Don’t you ever talk about Karen,” Foggy growled at her. “You don’t know anything about her.” She thought about some of the things Karen had hinted to her about during their nights out, about her past, things Matt had no idea of. “And you don’t know anything about me, either, if you think I would pimp my husband out to get sex from someone who wouldn’t want it with me. In fact, it shocks me, that you think I would ever want to have anything to do with you sexually. Do you just assume everyone wants you, or do you think I have some convoluted desire for you out of our being romantic rivals?”
“You two are not romantically rivals, actually,” Matt hissed. “Because I've made my choice for good, and even if I were single, Elektra, I would still have zero interest in ever starting anything up with you ever again.”
“Of course you would,” shrugged Elektra, not like she didn’t believe it, but like she thought she might just change his mind. “Check, please.”
“I’m starting to think maybe we should’ve called Wanda,” Foggy said to Matt as they headed up the stairs and into the office. “She might’ve brought one or two other Avengers and done this as a favor.”
“No,” said Matt softly. “All else aside, including that they don’t even know who I am, I don’t trust any of them besides her, and I know you don’t either.”
“I trust them more than I trust Elektra! Seriously, I’d trust Tony Stark over her! Wouldn’t you?” She was kind of terrified his answer would be no.
“I’d…I’d trust him more to mean well,” said Matt. “But I wouldn’t trust him more to listen to me when I tell him how things are in Hell’s Kitchen, and why shooting that wall and throwing money at it afterwards is a bad idea. The Avengers deal with everything the same way. Elektra…she’s the kind of weasel who knows you can’t do that, and she’s more practical than proud, so she…she might just do things as I ask her to if she’s got no reason to do otherwise.”
“You may be right, there,” Foggy conceded. “Ah, well, let’s hope at least she doesn’t cause any more crazy things this morning.”
She perhaps should’ve thought of the fact that there was another woman waiting for them in that office with her own missions in life she tended to rope them into. And Foggy couldn’t even confide in her on this one.
That night, as she sat in the office and waited for Matt to show up, she debated just calling Wanda and informing him when he came in that she’d done so. It might even make her less angry at him. This wasn’t really his fault, she supposed. It had been as much Karen who had pushed them into this as him. She doubted he could’ve managed a better deal than she had; she was kind of amazed she’d gotten that one. And even if he had, she had the feeling Castle still would’ve rebelled, and none of them could’ve talked sense into him. But she was smarting that she’d gone to such this effort, and all for naught, and the firm was now in more danger than ever, and meanwhile he’d been off cavorting with Elektra.
Her mood was not improved when he came in dressed all fancy, or when his response to the news was to stutter and gape. At least until she concluded, “So The People versus Frank Castle starts next week, and you need to clear your schedule. Get your phone out and call Wanda. We can tell her Daredevil asked us to because he knew we knew her.”
Then he shook his head and said, “It's not going to work like that, Foggy. This isn’t a situation where they can just come in guns blazing. If they did, we...we might even have an international incident. Those...those Japanese businessmen will start screaming about how they were attacked unprovoked and their government might even back them. You know the Avengers are still coping with the backlash from the rubble they left behind in Sokovia and South Africa. This…this requires a delicate touch, a smart, knowledgeable one…”
“Get Elektra to give them directions, then. Request Natasha Romanov. You know she’s perfectly capable of all the subterfuge you could possibly want, far more than you are!”
“And…and what if they refuse to work with Elektra? This can’t be done without her; I’m now certain of that. And when she’s done some shady things, what…what if they even try to…to arrest her?”
“Well, it would only be right of them!” Foggy should have regretted letting that come out of her mouth, but she was too livid. “Where the Hell did the man go who showed a little sense of self-preservation this morning anyway? What is this, really? Is it really that you don’t think a group of trained and experienced superheroes can do this job, or that you don’t want to give up the chance to do it yourself?”
Matt gaped again, but he didn’t deny it. But after a moment of so, he said, “Look, Foggy, I…I can pull this off. I…I’ve done extended work while we’ve had trials going on, you know that.”
“Never when the stakes have been this high, you haven’t!”
“The consequences of a trial don’t necessarily dictate how hard or easy a one this is.”
“Well, this is a hard one anyway!” She had to struggle not scream at him. “By far the hardest we’ve ever coped with as well as the biggest! Dealing with all the separate counts of murder they’ve got piled up on him alone, and when they might just add more even by the time the weekend’s over…”
“I know, I know.” Matt was waving his hands in front of her, almost at random. “Look, we can always have the option of calling on the Avengers if it becomes the right thing to do. But we shouldn’t go running to them just yet when I still have no idea how much Elektra’s going to even want me. She sometimes prefers to do things herself anyway, I think.”
“I hope so.” Foggy tried to make it sound hard, but she was aware already she had lost. She was too tired to argue or even yell at Matt any further tonight. She didn’t think she’d gotten him to budge an inch. She wasn’t sure he’d even meant what he said about possibly calling the Avengers, although he might have already kept that option in the back of his head. And right now, at least, she wasn’t willing to call them herself against his wishes, although that was an option she was definitely keeping at the back of her own head.
He started a steady stream of words on the walk home, assuring her it was going to be okay, they were going to pull this off. By the time they were in, she wanted him to shut up, because the more he spoke, the less she believed it.
Matt did stop going out on nights when Elektra didn’t call him. Foggy knew he meant that as a concession towards the importance of this case, although she wasn’t sure if he might still be trying to convince himself he was done with his main Daredevil days, and would hang the suit up for good when Elektra left. It definitely wasn’t the kind of thing she was about to protest. Even if it only made the whole thing hurt more, enforcing the fact she could actually make Matt do this.
Once she gave up completely on trying to convince him to call the Avengers, Foggy didn’t really say much at all. Not even when Elektra started pulling him out of prep work. Not even when lack of sleep made him all but useless on the penultimate day of jury selection. Not even when she met Marci for a drink, and apparently looked so bad that Marci actually got concerned for her. Not even when she found she couldn’t remember the last time Matt had spoken negatively about Elektra. Not even when he continually came in looking refreshed and happy, even though he was always tired, and the anxiety Foggy once thought she’d never feel again gave way to dread.
The night before the trial began Matt left with his opening statement still in draft format. It was a miracle Foggy had gotten him to stay long enough to type it out, so she could do the revisions. With every note she typed in, she felt another stab of panic, of anger, of helplessness. By the time she finished and laid herself within those stupid sheets, she was doubting her ability to sleep. But she couldn’t bother Karen, not when she’d had her hands full with Castle, and all three of them had slept too little as it was.
Somehow she managed to drift off, until she was coming awake vaguely aware that Matt and Elektra were in the next room. She was so tired she initially didn’t pay attention to what they were saying-at least until she heard her own name: “…suits to work, so nobody sees them but Foggy. She’s good at helping me conceal anything my clothes don’t.”
Elektra laughed at that, a slow, friendly laugh Foggy hadn’t thought her capable of. Then she heard Matt say something about bleeding, and his voice was so soft, the way he talked to Foggy herself during longer days.
As soon as she opened the door, she wished that she hadn’t. It would have been easier if she hadn’t had to actually see it, the two of them in nothing but their underdress, Matt so gentle and tender as he leaned over to press cloth to a cut on her arm, her leaning her body in with the ease of a longtime companion and him clearly not minding at all.
“Foggy?” Matt had taken too long to notice she was awake. “Elektra and I got into a bit of a scrape, so she came back with me so we could bandage each other.”
Meanwhile, Elektra was leaning forward, saying, “I haven’t seen this one,” and actually stroking her hand along Matt’s bare skin.
“He got that from the Russians, I think, and the ones on his collarbone and hip from the first time he ran into one of your crazies,” Foggy hurried over, and at least Matt leaned back when she placed her hands on his shoulders, but it didn’t make her feel as better as she’d hoped. Especially because she still hated remembering that night, the night she’d seriously thought this was it, this was when he died on their living room floor, even after she’d gotten Claire in. “I don’t know how you do this,” Claire had said to her then, and Foggy’s response had simply been, “I don’t either.”
Elektra could’ve done it with no angst, she was sure.
“You need to work on your opening statement,” she said. “I looked over it and I have some suggestions. Are you done here?” She made no attempt to hide the hostility in her voice as she directed this last question towards Elektra.
“Foggy,” Matt sighed, “don’t just throw her out.”
“No, that’s okay,” Elektra shrugged, before Foggy could decide to yell. “Go do your work. I’ll just see what I can put on, and then I’ll get out of your way.”
They managed to get a revision done, and a couple more hours of sleep before Foggy’s phone alarm woke them, but it wasn’t Matt’s best opening statement ever.
Foggy still didn’t say any more, until the day the doctor told them in the closed court that he’d been threatened by a woman whom she and Matt knew instantly was Elektra. For the rest of the day, Foggy could see in her mind it all going down the drain: the case, the chance to take down Reyes, the chance to save their firm, maybe even if they somehow still won. And that was if Elektra was never identified; she’d be linked to Matt in an instant.
She couldn’t give him a piece of her mind at the courthouse; there was no place they weren’t in danger of being overheard. She even didn’t say anything when they walked up the stairs together to their apartment, though when he clung to her arm she walked brisk and roughly, and he knew her mood.
The first thing that came out of his mouth when the door was closed was, “I swear I never told Elektra anything about the trial-”
“You know what?!” Foggy wrenched herself away and turned to face him, making sure to stamp her feet as loud as she could. “I don’t care if you didn’t ask her to do it!”
“If?! I…I would never sanction…Foggy, you-you know I would never-”
“Stop acting like these things just happen to you!” she screamed back. “You insisted on going to spy on her and then going to talk to her! You agreed to work with her! And then you went and insisted we take this trial, and refused to call the Avengers, multiple times, even knowing how big a deal it was going to be! You pushed me into this mess, and then you ran out on me, again and again and again and again…no one’s making you go out at all hours of the night fighting bad guys! Noone ever has!”
“I was going to hang up my suit!” he protested. “If the Yakuza hadn’t come in…”
“You would have put it on for some other reason anyway! Elektra was never the cause of that, Matt. You were. Will you please at least stop bullshitting yourself about that? I’ve put up with it for way too long. So why don’t you just head out now, going do your things with her that are more important than me, more important than our firm, more important than our careers, more important than our lives…”
“Foggy, the city is in danger!”
“And you need to go hit someone!” He flinched; that had been one of the uglier accusations she’d flung at him when he’d first admitted he was going to start going out at night regularly. She was so angry she was actually glad of it.
He reached his hand out, and started again, “Foggy,” in that voice she always hated to hear the most when they argued, the condescending one, and she was done.
“No!” she snapped, slapping him away, hard enough he jumped. “Don’t even talk to me! Don’t try to throw all your high and mighty excuses for why I should just put up with every piece of shit you throw at me over and over and over again!” It wasn’t even just Elektra anymore, she realized; it was every bit of anguish he’d caused her since their wedding day onwards, the pain she’d always told herself to endure, because they were worth it. She’d convinced herself for so long, but now her resolve was starting to break.
“I am not…you’re not walking away! Don’t walk away from me, Foggy!” She’d been trying too; he grabbed her again.
“You don’t get to say that to me when you’re about to walk away from me!” Violently she wrestled herself free. “When if the last few days are any indication, you sure as hell haven’t been here!” He stood there, taking it, sad face partly on, and she nearly caved, but no. “Going forward, I will count on you for nothing at all.” She was trying to keep her voice steady, but she couldn’t as she finished, “Now go find the partner you actually have any interest in doing anything with, and while you’re at it, tell that bitch to stay away from my trial!”
With that, she turned and ran into the bedroom. She had to now, because she could no longer keep the tears back. She was wailing by the time she collapsed onto the bed, letting the bedclothes get soaked and making no attempt to control the volume of her cries, the cries of a woman who now knew her entire world was collapsing around her.
She heard footsteps, Matt calling her name from the door. But when she didn’t respond, he eventually turned, and she heard him head for the trunk in the living room, as if he’d wanted to make her hurt even more.
Then he came back with Elektra, and also with the other person in the world Foggy had most never wanted to see again. And she still couldn’t protest, since even before Matt gave her a nearly incoherent explanation it was obvious Elektra was seriously injured and only Stick knew how to save her.
So she just stood there and watched, Matt running at Stick’s beck and call. Then he actually knelt and took Elektra’s hand and started praying, his voice so terrified, and Foggy couldn’t stand to watch any longer. She turned and walked into the living room, to the kitchenette, let herself fall against it. No crying this time; she could even hear Matt saying something about Elektra’s heart rate steadying as her cries of pain stopped.
He wasn’t even listening to anything of hers. He wasn’t going to notice the pain in her gut, so severe she almost couldn’t breathe. He wasn’t going to know she felt trapped in her own skin, like she needed to claw her way out of it until she couldn’t feel anything anymore. He couldn’t hear her heart screaming, wanting to stop beating. Was this, she wondered, what it felt like to being dying of a broken heart?
When the two men walked out a minute or so later and Matt called her name, she only grunted out, “Don’t talk to me.” They talked to each other instead.
She wondered at Matt’s surprise to hear Elektra and Stick were connected. She’d figured out that much herself already this morning. She did feel better to hear him say to Stick the sort of things he should have said to him long ago. She would’ve been glad at his skepticism in the face of his story about secret ninja organizations and wars, except she kind of found herself believing it as she stood there, hearing his words.
And when Stick started to talk about Hell’s Kitchen burning, she was finally done just being there and ignored. “That’s it,” she declared, turning around in time to see them both starting, remembering her.
“This,” she said, as she stepped out of the kitchenette, feeling honest relief that she finally felt it was undisputedly the right thing to do this, “is officially out of Matt’s league. And you know what? I’m sure your organization has gotten into the custom of fighting the Hand alone, but as you must have noticed, there’s another group that’s formed in recent years specifically to deal with these kinds of threats. They’ve even got a survivor of the Black Widow program, and if these people are from the East, there’s no way she hasn’t at least trained to deal with them. And we happen to be friends with one of their recent recruits. So right now, I am going to do what I should’ve done when this whole thing started. I’m going to call Wanda.”
Stick got in her way. “You are not getting those idiots involved in this,” he told her.
“Stick, don’t hurt her.” Matt was there too, but from his stance, she wasn’t sure he too wouldn’t try to stop her.
It was no use trying to talk to Stick, so she instead turned to her husband. “It’s easy for you now, isn’t it? To pay attention to me again, now that you can defend me. I never would’ve even found out any of your secrets, would I have, if there hadn’t been a would-be rapist to defend me from?”
“Foggy…” he pleaded.
She was having none of it. “You are putting Hell’s Kitchen in danger, trying to take this on yourself when you have a group of experts to help only a phone call away. You don’t get to create danger and then protect us from that danger. That’s not heroic. That’s insane. Now are you going to get this asshole out of my way? Or are you going to side with the man who abused you against your own wife?”
“You’ll call anything abuse, won’t you?” Stick sneered, as if she actually gave a damn about his opinion.
Matt was just standing there; it was only because she knew him so well that she could tell he was genuinely unsure, in that moment, what he should do. Swallowing her anger at that as best she could, she said, “You have to accept some help sometimes and trust some people. You should know that, since you agreed to work with Elektra. Just like you trust me in the courtroom. Trust Wanda. Trust the people who have been good to her, even after she tried to kill them. Trust the people who did save us from the aliens, even if they busted the place up a bit.”
Another moment, then Matt outright grabbed Stick and pulled him back with a “Let her make the call.”
He had to wrestle Stick out of her way, keep a hold of him as Foggy grabbed the phone and ran. She ended up making the call while standing on the roof.
Looking back later, she would recognize that as one of three vital moments that saved her marriage.
Not that it felt like it by the time she lay in a hospital bed with no idea where Matt was, and so angry at him she wasn’t sure she even wanted to know. Better off without him, he’d said. She was dangerously close to agreeing.
“What if Castle comes in here and shoots me again?” she demanded of the air at one point. Matt could be in hearing range, after all. Especially since she thought the Avengers had stashed some rescued people with Claire somewhere in this place. Not that he was necessarily bothering to listen. “Am I not even important enough to protect anymore?”
After a short pause, she continued, “You might not be thinking about me right now, but look at me, still thinking about you. I haven’t even really seen half of this stupid game. Last time I was here, I know you were thinking about me, and when you were in a situation where I would’ve excused you for it if you hadn’t, too. But then, last time, you were only in the company of some Russian asshole. Now, you’re probably tending to Elektra if she’s not out of bed yet, and who knows what you’re doing with her if she’s up to it…”
“No!” She heard him yell from above the window, and then she realized there’d been the sound of scrambling outside since she’d started talking. He’d been on the roof. Of course he’d been on the roof.
“Foggy, I swear I didn’t!” He nearly fell through the window in his haste to get in. “I never would, never! And you are important to me! I'd die for you! Foggy, is there any chance of you believing me?” He sounded honest to God terrified.
“I don’t think you’re cheating on me with Elektra, Matt,” Foggy sighed, because she actually didn’t. “At least not literally. I just feel like you are.”
A pause, and then, “I feel like I am, too.”
Their words sunk in as he took his mask off, and he said, “This…this shouldn’t have…when this started it was...it was hard for me to believe I’d ever want to have anything to do with Elektra at all. I shouldn’t anyway for reasons that have nothing to do with you, and I *know* that.” His utter disgust with himself could never make Foggy feel anything but pain for him.
Still her anger wasn’t gone, and she asked, “Why didn’t you do as I said that night, then? I think you should’ve recognized some danger in working with her by then; I saw the effect it had on you. The trial was the perfect excuse to hand it over to the Avengers and walk away.”
“I don’t…don’t know if she would’ve taken no for an answer.”
“Well you should’ve forced her to! If you’d kept telling her to go away every time she bothered us, surely she would’ve given up eventually…” But suddenly Matt was standing up, head cocked and face anxious. “What is it now?” she asked, trying not to sound too aggravated, because it could be very serious, but she was so tired of all of this.
The Avengers had given Matt a communication device he’d wrapped around his wrist. Now he turned it on and said, “Avengers.”
“I know.” Romanov’s voice came over. “We’re pretty sure they know they’re in the hospital, and that’s definitely where they seem to be going right now. Sam and Rhodey are on it.”
“Good. Uh…” He looked at her, and Foggy could tell he genuinely didn’t want to leave.
“Stay with your wife, Murdock,” Romanov said to him, causing him to start hard. Distantly Foggy felt a little amusement. No surprise, either. Of course Natasha Romanov had figured it out.
When Matt stammered out a couple of syllables, she said impatiently, “Yes, I know it’s you. And I know she’s in there, and if your injured wife is actually in the place the Hand are about to attack, your priority is her. It’s all right. There are enough of us to handle this group.”
“She’s right, Matt.” Wanda was with her. “We’ll warn Claire Temple too, and we’ll contact you again if we need you for anything.”
“All right,” said Matt, and he truly sounded relieved. But he put his mask back on, and started to pace; the conversation was still over for now.
Although a minute or so later he did add, “There’s something else I have to tell you about that I found out today. Not…not where we can be overheard. When you get out of here.” There was something new in his voice, a kind of buried terror she’d never heard from him before. Foggy didn’t know what to think, not then.
Really, not until after she got out, and learned it was because of what she was now in danger of.
But ultimately, it all came down to a final moment five minutes after Elektra’s memorial service ended. Matt had been distraught during it, especially when he’d first seen the urn that held her ashes. He’d been very much against cremating her. But Natasha had insisted, and been shocked the Chaste had not shared the Red Room’s policy of automatically burning any dead Black Sky they could. Stick had ultimately agreed with her, though.
That was when they’d gotten some distance between themselves and the others, and Matt, voice very soft, had asked Foggy if she wanted a divorce. Her first response had been an angry impulse: “Do you?”
When she heard his instant, dismayed, “No, God, no!” she knew she was staying. However furious she still was, and however trying the next month at least was going to be.
Even as she said, carefully, “I would think you’d be too Catholic for that anyway.”
“I…” he hesitated. “I think I’d still consider myself married to you. I’d have to live alone. But…but I won’t ever force you to stay with me. I’ll cooperate legally.”
“No, you won’t,” she said. “Because I’m not suing for one. Unless…” one last thing to check, but she was dead certain this wasn’t true: “Unless you’re just saying no because of the Catholicism, and you don’t really want me to stay with you.”
“Oh, God, Foggy, I do. Or at least the selfish part of me does. Trust me, I *really* don’t want a divorce. But you should want one. Don’t th…think I don’t know exactly how much wrong I’ve done you, Foggy. I…I’ve ruined everything for us. You can rebuild without me, I know you can.”
“And what if I don’t want to? What if I want to…to…start again?” But Foggy wasn’t sure what she wanted, at least professionally.
“You were ready to walk out on me before I dropped into the hospital room, I know that. After it…well, you took that interview.”
“You told me to take it,” she said, and let herself still be angry, in fact, it was easier to, now that she was no longer afraid. “That wasn’t the response I was hoping for you to give me, you know, when I said Marci had gotten me that offer.”
“But you were relieved when I said what I said, weren’t you?” he asked, and it didn’t sound like a question. When she didn’t deny it, he said, “Look, at…at the very least, you shouldn’t throw your career away for my sake. Too many women have done that for their men throughout history. Yes, I know you want me to try to persuade you to give Nelson and Murdock another go, even though I don’t think you really want to do that. But…but that’s not what you should do anyway. Take the job. Take the fresh start, and turn it into the legal career you’ve always deserved to have. Like…like you deserve a better husband.”
Hearing the two things split like that, Foggy knew what she wanted then. “But I don’t want a better husband,” she said, and turned and kissed him hard, heedless of the Avengers still milling around and Stick coming towards them. “But all right. I’ll keep you as my husband only, then. Maybe it’s for the better, anyway. Maybe we’re just a couple who shouldn’t mix the professional and the personal.” But even as she said it, she felt something in her die.
“I’m sorry,” Matt said to her, because of course he knew. “I know this isn’t what you wanted. I wanted it too, the complete life together, Nelson and Murdock against the world. I thought we could have it…you still could with someone else…”
"Whatever you’re offering me I’ll take.”
Matt nodded, their heads touching. “Then all we’ll have is moments together. When you come home from work, when I come home from…a few moments amidst all the…the noise, the chaos, the violence. Like I had with Elektra, in the end. I…I wanted to give you more than I gave her.”
“Then give me more of them,” Foggy said, and she wasn’t proud of how her heart glowed to hear that last sentence.
“So that’s loving someone.” Stick didn’t care that they were having one of the most intense and important exchanges they’d ever had, of course. He was standing right there, holding the urn, expression neutral. “You hurt each other, you yell and scream at each other, and since you’re both still alive, I suppose he’ll buy you roses now. Is it worth it?” But the last question wasn’t sneered. He sounded like he genuinely wanted to know.
“I…I bought Elektra roses once,” said Matt softly. “She hates roses. Prefers orchids.” He breathed in. “Although I know this is a day for chocolate instead, Foggy, isn’t it? And yeah, Stick,” he added, cocking his head towards him, but saying it to them both: “It’s worth it. Loving someone is worth it every time.”
Chocolate, and a backrub that evening in bed, as she lay on top of a towel, so she could move about without worrying about her pad failing to catch the blood, and waited for the second dose of painkillers she’d taken that day to kick in. It was then Foggy said, “Matt, I still can’t help but feel like you settled for me. Both at school and now.”
“Is there any way to persuade you that's the most ridiculous idea ever?” he sighed. “Even in Columbia, I know now there…there are only two ways that story could’ve ended, and I thank God it didn’t end the other way.”
“That I believe,” said Foggy, because yeah, Matt would never want to be what she would’ve turned him into. “But when I still have never been able to figure out why, after dating all those hot and fabulous women and that handful of swoon-worthy men, you suddenly wanted me…”
“It’s…it’s not that simple, Foggy. It is true, yes, that I’ll react if everyone around me is reacting to someone’s looks.” This was the first time he’d admitted anything like that. “In-including you, by the way; I still think I went for Serena largely because *you* were attracted to her-which…which probably wasn’t very nice of me, but you didn’t seem actually interested, and also she was completely straight, so it wasn’t like I was stealing anything from you there.”
“That,” said Foggy, “might be one of the weirdest things I’ve heard out of you yet.” But it was another thing she still believed him on. “It’s okay, I won’t hold that against you. You were right that I wasn’t really interested. Serena was your type, not mine.”
“Honestly, I still don’t know why you went for me,” said Matt. “Especially when you…you knew what I mess I could be by then. Not as much as I eventually turned out to be…”
“Because I’m an idiot sometimes?” Which might just get Matt started about how she should leave him again, so she hastily continued, “But you said Elektra first noticed you in the middle of a crowded room, with no one in particular paying attention to the two of you, and she dragged you out to be alone pretty quickly…”
“Well, yes, there are things about women and men I get attracted to of my own accord. But they’re still…you know, Pietro asked me once what I really wanted in a girl, and I said, someone I really liked listening to. Voice and words, of course, but also, things like how they walk, how they breathe, how they smell…”
“You must have hated being around me during finals week,” Foggy pointed out.
But Matt shook his head. “Students generally don’t smell very good during finals week. Even the ones that still shower daily are sweating like nobody’s business most of the time and drinking way too much caffeine. You weren’t any worse than usual. Although…that was one thing about Elektra. She kept herself ridiculously clean. I don’t even know how she did it when it wasn’t like she even showered more than usual. I used to think it was a rich diplomat’s daughter thing…” He laughed mirthlessly. “But I should be talking about you right now, really.”
“I’m still not getting how you were attracted to me, here. My voice isn’t really that attractive, I know you’ve always heard my weight in my footsteps…”
“Well, in terms of purely physical appeal, I…I’ve always loved the sound of your hair.” He’d pretty much finished the massage by now, and he reached a hand out and twined strands of it around his fingers. “Believe it or not, there was one time in my life where hearing you let it down always drove me to distraction. Still does, sometimes. If…if you feel you have to cut it for the new job, of course…”
“I can keep putting it in a bun,” said Foggy, aware of the heat his words and his hand on her neck and scalp were generating.
“But as for your voice…” Matt was sounding a little dazed as he spoke, and she recognized the ardor in it. “It’s one of the most musical I’ve ever heard…” He must have sensed her reaction to that, because he said, “Okay, maybe not literally, but…I can hear warmth in it, laughter, kindness…although when you drop that and go all lawyer mode…well, I know you’ve noticed me get hard from that at least twice, and those weren’t the only two times it’s happened either.” Foggy actually felt herself blushing because yeah, she could remember both those times. The way both of Matt’s hands were now touching her, just stroking and feeling around the way he did sometimes, wasn’t helping.
“And your way of breathing…” One hand danced over her chest as it rose. “I don’t even know what about it…I don’t always know…but from the start…”
Said breathing was getting less and less steady, and that was before Foggy turned her head and they were kissing, wild and hungry, both their hands everywhere. “Let me…” Matt whispered between their mouths. “Please, Foggy, let me…” One of his hands moved downwards. She took it and brought it to her breasts.
She thought of Elektra for one more moment, when Matt’s hand briefly slipped out of her panties, and she saw it covered in her blood. The past few days have seen him stained with the blood of both the women he’s loved, she thought then. The women he’d loved so much, and he’d hurt so much, Elektra too, even before she’d gone and died for him, but they’d both of them forgive him for it, in the end.
Foggy started to fall asleep afterwards to the sound of him praying. But after he had finished reciting a standard prayer, she also heard, so soft she could barely make his words out, “Dear God, let this miracle you gave me stay in my life. Let her find the success and happiness she deserves. Let her not come to harm at Fisk’s hands because of my folly. And I know I will never deserve her, but let me continue to try. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, amen.”
Matt mostly slept for the next few days. Foggy actually couldn’t object to that per se, given how much sleep debt he had probably accumulated. Still, it was trying, as she was left along with Karen to sort out all the final business that closing the firm required, and all the while worried whether he would ever be the same again, because it was hard to believe he would be when he was in his current state.
He started being awake at certain times in steps. First was being up to have dinner ready for her if he expected her home at a certain time. Next, of course, was going out at night again, with him saying something about not all the members of the Hand having left the city yet. Still, even then he didn’t go out nearly as often as she would’ve expected. After that, he started getting up at random times of the day to do household chores, any of the ones he was capable of, which ultimately was most of them.
It took her a bit of time to figure out that one, since when she was home all he seemed to want to talk about was her, did she like the firm, were they keeping her busy too much or too little, was there anyone there besides Marci she felt she could truly be friends with. He asked if there was anything he could do for her until it got annoying. He made her favorite meals, one of which was difficult for him to manage. He took pains to speak encouraging words to her. He was always up for sex whenever she wanted, even on nights he went out, always how she liked it, reminding her when she pointed that out that his pleasure took care of itself.
He was basically trying to be the perfect househusband outside his vigilante hours. Foggy wasn’t sure whether it made her grateful or drove her crazy. Maybe both.
But ultimately, she couldn’t help but appreciate just having him still in her life after her first couple of weeks at Hogarth, Chao, and Benowitz. Matt had been right to worry about people she could be friends with. When she chose as her PA a middle-aged black woman named Cheryl Halley who’d just gotten her bachelor’s, people at the firm snickered it was out of pity, or white guilt, or possibly just to be contrary. Actually, it had been because she’d been the only one of the potential PAs presented to her who seemed willing to talk to her frankly, and become a friend.
That was more than could be said for most of her new colleagues. She swiftly grew to actively dislike two of the main partners. Gil Benowitz seemed all right, but she still didn’t know much about him. Nor did most of the lawyers who worked at the firm, according to Marci. There were other lawyers there like her longtime friend, people she could get along with easily who she thought weren’t without souls. But she felt a strange distance from them, a feeling she wasn’t like them. She didn’t even think it was because of her secretly being married to a vigilante. She thought it was more because of her professional past, being mixed up with the disadvantaged as she’d defended them, the people they were barely aware existed, unless they were protecting their privileged clients from their redress.
“It’s because you’re a better person than all of them,” said Matt. “Put together.” But of course he would say that.
Even if she was spending a lot less time with Karen, she was fast becoming much more dependent on her emotionally. There were points where she thought the only time she was happy was when the two of them managed a night out. Marci came with them one night, but it became clear she and Karen would never like each other very much, so after that it was just the two of them. Karen initially badgered her about Matt; she obviously suspected he’d cheated, and Foggy wished she could tell her the truth. Wished she could sob about it to her, really. Eventually she gave up on that, but she still looked pointedly at Foggy every time his name came up.
At least her life was looking up. She was having a little trouble with her new colleagues too; some of them didn’t like the way Ellison had just handed her the job and Ben’s old office(“It’s the office they resent, absolutely. I even understand it, I really do.”). But when she talked about journalism, and what she was currently crash coursing her way through every spare moment she had, and the Bulletin in general, she was all full of the kind of excitement Foggy wished she could feel about her own new job. The kind of excitement she might have felt once.
And yet sometimes there was something off about Karen, like the way she’d been during the worst of the days before Fisk had been arrested. Foggy didn’t dare tell her about his threat to Matt, not when she knew Matt had violated that contract telling even her. Fisk clearly hadn’t noticed her existence, after all. Maybe he wouldn’t. Foggy hoped so.
Her biomom sent a congratulatory email. That was a new one from her. Her last email had been back during the spring, angry that Nelson and Murdock had turned a friend of hers down as a client. Since her daughter had passed the bar, Rosalind Sharpe seemed to be constantly thinking of how she who she had once claimed to be ashamed of could be of use to her. Foggy longed for the time when she only heard from her once a decade or so.
On the other hand, contrary to what she had once believed, she was turning into her mother a little bit, in a good way. Somewhere in between following Matt into the room in the precinct where Karen Page awaited, and actually getting applause for her closing argument defending Frank Castle, even though it had been hopeless by then, something had settled under her skin, both an ability to get things done, both at the table and on the floor of the courtroom, and a matter-of-fact knowledge of what she could do.
She suspected Rosalind Sharpe was out there claiming credit for that. If anyone ever asked Foggy, though, she would absolutely give the credit to her time as being half of Nelson and Murdock, the months that had shaped her like nothing else ever could.
Her greatest fear, aside from all the ones involving Matt, was that her time as part of Hogarth, Chao, and Benowitz would turn her into her mother in a bad way.
About a week before Christmas, Karen asked Foggy to come have tea with her alone, in her apartment. That was an odd request. Karen had never liked having anyone over at her apartment. Matt had never even been there when he hadn’t been Daredevil. Foggy had a couple of times, but she still wondered. Had Karen decided to interrogate her about Matt again after all?
But when they had their tea in their cups and taken the first sips, Karen swallowed, and said, “Foggy, if I tell you something, would you be willing to consider it covered by attorney-client privilege? It’s…it’s a matter where I might possibly need a lawyer anyway, although I’m…hoping not.”
Foggy did not like the sound of that at all, but she said, “All right.”
Not long afterwards, their teas sat cooled and mostly undrunk, Karen was wiping tears away from her face, clearly waiting anxiously for her judgement, and Foggy didn’t know what judgement to make, or if she even ought to.
Karen finally blurted out, “If you heard of this after I was arrested, would you take my case?”
“Yes, I think I would,” said Foggy. “Your killing of that asshole was actually justified, given the threats he was making to your life, and the lives of others. But the rest of it…” It was what she’d done with Frank Castle after he’d broken out of prison that truly shocked Foggy, especially the lies she’d told for him, and after months of frustration that had nothing to do with her poor companion, well, mostly, she sighed, “Dammit, Karen, you’re not my client anymore, you’re my friend, and that was crazy of you! I know you feel like everything you did was the right thing to do, and maybe it even was, I don’t really know. But you’re….” And no, she had to stop herself right there, because she could not say the rest of that sentence.
Except Karen said it instead: “….as bad as Matt?”
Foggy shook her head. “Shit, Karen, I can’t have this conversation with you. It’s not…I can’t…”
“You can’t keep everything from me, Foggy,” said Karen. “Especially when you’re both such terrible liars. I know Matt has secrets. I’m assuming they’re *his*, in a way that makes you feel like knowing them gives you the responsibility to keep them, especially as his wife. I also know they’re making you miserable, whatever they are. I also know…well, to be honest, Foggy, you know by the end, it shocked me that you were still willing to leave me alone with him? I…” she looked down. “I guess you kind of know it already…”
“Didn’t matter,” said Foggy. “My faith in you has always been and remains absolute.” Which told Karen everything she needed to know about Foggy’s faith in her own husband.
That probably just contributed to the hard tone with which she said, “Well, you need not worry ever again. Because after seeing what Matt’s put you through? Even if he were single I’d never touch him now.”
Would she? Foggy wondered. But it didn’t matter. Because somehow those words sent her mind in a completely different direction regarding Karen and Matt, and she found herself saying, “He should tell you. I’ve been urging him to tell you most of this time, and I feel that even more now. And you should tell him your secrets. Don’t get me wrong, this is all privileged, and, if you want, I, uh, well I’ll try to not even let him think we talked about anything important tonight, though, um…” And she couldn’t even warn Karen about why she might not succeed.
But once again her friend finished the sentence for her: “He really can tell when you’re lying can’t he? I’ve been around him long enough to notice his knack for that. Great at detecting lies, terrible at lying himself.” She actually chuckled. “But you know what? All right. You can tell him that I told you some secrets of mine, and I’m willing to play show you mine, show me yours.”
“I’ll try to get him to accept, then,” said Foggy, and she would. It wasn’t even just so she wouldn’t have to keep things from either of them anymore. It was because the more she thought about it, the more she was convinced Matt and Karen needed each other. If they were both going to go running around the dangerous parts of Hell’s Kitchen, they’d both stand a much better chance at survival and success if they had each other as allies.
To her surprise, when she delivered Karen’s offer to Matt that night, he agreed to it quickly. “I know we can trust her to keep such a secret,” he said. “And you’re right. It’s time she knew. Although I just hope she won’t stop being friends with you, even if she wants nothing to do with me afterwards.”
So they invited her over on Boxing Day (Foggy had to talk Matt out of doing it Christmas Eve), and Matt presented her with the mask. It turned out to be a day of revelations that shocked all three of them, because Karen ultimately also told the two of them everything, including the details about her past she’d only hinted at to Foggy before. The two of them ended up drying her tears while Foggy tried not to think about how much Karen was starting to remind her of Wanda. Of course, life had treated the latter much, much worse, but the comparison was still unavoidable. They’d even both lost a brother.
Maybe, she thought, she might even try to get the two of them into each other’s company properly. They’d met once, but they hadn’t really talked to each other. Foggy thought they might prove very good friends indeed.
She didn’t bring it up then, though. All three of them were going through enough for one night as it was.
“Right now,” Matt said, when at last all the explanations were spent, “I don’t know what you think of me. But I know I’m in no position to judge you.”
“I don’t know what I think of you either,” said Karen. “But you saved me twice.”
“Second time you were targeted as someone I’d saved earlier, so I’m not sure that one counts,” said Matt, and maybe, just for a moment, Karen smiled a little. “But if you need me to do it again at any time…I’m not going out as much as I have lately, but…but any night you think you might need shadowing, even…”
“I’ll let you know,” said Karen, and Foggy reminded herself that Matt would know if she was lying, and that Karen herself knew that now.
Matt insisted on making dinner for all three of them, and Karen led Foggy up to the roof, despite the cold. Of course Matt could’ve listened in on them up there had he wanted to, but they could hope he would be kind enough not to. It was a bit windy out, so he’d’ve had to concentrate. “This’ll take getting used to,” Karen observed softly. “Knowing he can hear…oh my God, everything, and he’s heard so much of what I’ve said, hasn’t he? All this time…”
“I doubt it’s much he hasn’t heard before,” said Foggy gently. “And I do know he tries not to listen sometimes. There’s this story about Pietro and this girlfriend he had you ought to try to get him to tell you…”
“And he’s a hero.” She’d clearly come up here to process out loud, more than anything else. “And an asshole. And a liar, but I knew that one already…and oh my God, Foggy, you’re terrified he’s going to die, aren’t you?”
When she came over Foggy accepted the hug, and Karen made it a good, tight one. “And you’ve suffered in silence all this time…”
But Foggy wasn’t sure how much of the agony in her voice was dismay at her friend’s pain, and how much was that same pain hitting her for the first time, because she sure wasn’t going to escape it.
“Anything you need from me,” she whispered to Foggy. “Maybe anything either of you need from me, but definitely anything you need from me.”
“But he suffers as much, doesn’t he?” she continued, when they parted. “With the guilt. It’s…it’s going to be all three of us now. Not that you should be sorry you told me, of course, but…”
Foggy thought again about what she’d said, that she wouldn’t have Matt now even if she could have. She noticed Karen wasn’t repeating that now. Although maybe she still wouldn’t have. Foggy didn’t think she had forgiven him entirely. Maybe she’d even show a sense of self-preservation, although Foggy wasn’t sure she had any more of that than Matt did.
But either way, it was clear to her that whatever she said, and whatever she told herself, poor Karen was more in love with the man she couldn’t have anyway than ever.
They finally went downstairs when it was cold enough they were clinging to each other for warmth, their fingers entwined.
Matt’s gathering up the strength to tell Karen the truth Foggy afterwards thought to be the turning point. Within days she saw he had grown lighter, sleeping a little less, smiling a little more, showing a little more energy. He kept going out at about the same rate, but he started coming home earlier. When he did, if she was in bed, after a quick shower he’d snuggle up to her, and it was only when she saw the easy confidence with which he invaded her personal space that she realized it had been lacking since Elektra had nearly divided them.
In January he even started to take clients again. There were people in Hell’s Kitchen desperate enough even to overlook his ruined reputation. Most of them couldn’t even offer him a cookie in payment, but that was all right. Foggy was the breadwinner of the household now, and she found she kind of liked that. Maybe that was just meant to be her role in helping Hell’s Kitchen poor and downtrodden, being the financial, medical, and emotional support for the guy who did that work.
Though he did also manage to obtain the money Elektra had managed to leave him. He insisted on using some of it to pay off part of Foggy’s student loans. “Least she owes you,” he said, and she made no argument.
Then in the spring, they heard about Luke Cage. They got most of their news from Karen, of course. She apparently even made a trip up to Harlem when Mariah Dillard held her anti-superpowers rally. “That bitch,” she growled to Foggy the night afterwards. “How did she know there wasn’t anyone in that large crowd that happened to be Inhuman, just to start with? Someone who never asked to be superpowered, and is now living in terror that they’ll be found out? Or maybe someone that don’t even know what they are yet, but will find out the hard way, and what will they feel then?”
The day after Luke was re-arrested, Matt received a call from Claire, who apparently had gotten herself mixed up with him. “If he’s as good a guy as he sounds like, I’m happy for you, Claire,” Foggy heard Matt say to her. “But I think you should talk to Foggy. She’s the vigilante specialist these days.” Claire did, and then said she’d talk to Luke, but she called back with the news that he adamantly refused to be defended by anyone associated with Hogarth, Chao, & Benowitz. “Wouldn’t tell me why,” she sighed. Matt took the case.
It was the most complicated case he’d tackled since Castle, which seemed to give Matt a new energy. It occasionally made Foggy feel a little indignant, to see him in the evenings working away on his laptop, the way he should’ve been doing with her when he’d been running around with Elektra instead. It also made her aware of the professional divide between them, because now they couldn’t discuss the issues, couldn’t bounce things off each other, couldn’t check each other’s work, the way they used to. But mostly she was glad. As far as she was concerned, anything that got Matt caring more about his day job was undisputedly good.
She even thought it had been worth it after Matt’s association with Luke, and then also Jessica and Daniel Rand, ended up nearly wrecking everything for the umpteenth time while trying to save the city again. Despite the distress of them, those events, too, seemed to leave Matt in a better mental state than they had found him in.
Both that and Luke’s case being done with left Matt at loose ends as April ended. He increased the number of nights he went out as Daredevil. One Friday, she came home from one of her harder weeks to find him collapsed on the coach, and woke him up with a sound so scared he ended up spending the next five minutes telling her it was okay, he didn’t have any serious injuries at the moment at all, he’d just been resting his eyes for a few minutes. That didn’t make Foggy feel as better as it should’ve.
At least Matt stayed home that night, pressing close to her in bed even after the afterglow faded. Foggy wondered if, next time she was approached by a client she couldn’t take for whatever reason, she might try to convince them to give Matt a try. Maybe if she could enlist Cheryl in the effort; she’d become an admirer of Matt’s thanks to his getting Luke out of prison.
They woke up the next morning to the sound of Foggy’s phone ringing. “Karen,” she told Matt as she picked it up. “Hey, Karen, eventful night?”
“You might say that,” replied Karen, her voice grim. “The Avengers made an appearance in Lagos which went horribly wrong, and Wanda accidentally killed a bunch of people.”
Two days after Wanda had gone to ground in the Avengers’ headquarters, Foggy and Marci did their first read-through of the Sokovia Accords together in the former’s office. Which Foggy went into wanting to approve of. Even if she had come to realize that sometimes things had to be done, things she would have once in no uncertain terms disapproved of, that didn’t mean *that* ought not to have some oversight somewhere. Although when she started reading, she still felt apprehension. Even then, she wasn’t sure she could believe in the powerful to do the right thing.
By the time they were done, she was so furious for a moment or so she couldn’t speak. Even Marci looked disturbed. “They might make some reservations while ratifying it,” she commented.
“In the current political climate?” she shook her head. She slammed her laptop shut.
“Wow,” said Marci, now seeing clearly how upset she was. “About to start shouting Captain America’s objections from the rooftops?”
“It’s not even that,” she sighed. “I don't really object to there being a UN Committee to supervise the Avengers; that's as good an oversight as any. But Steve Rogers came into this of his own free will. He even ran off to be a superhero when he’d been ordered to be a figurehead. He never got in an accident, or took a fish oil pill, or was experimented on without his consent when in prison and near death, and woke up with powers he’d never asked for, which apparently would force him to hand his information over to the government and give them the power to monitor his life in ways normal citizens wouldn’t have to tolerate.
And this? This could make it illegal for Jessica to so much as pick up a pencil or skip down a step without UN approval! And what about Luke, with the skin that’s unbreakable all the time? What about people with things like…like extra eyes, or enhanced senses, or other continuous uncontrollable abilities? This could be used to criminalize their existence!”
“Foggy,” said Marci. “Noone is going to arrest anyone just for existing. That’s not something they could get away with, not anywhere in the Western world, at least.”
“Oh? We’re likely going to have at least one presidential nominee who totally would.”
“Which is why he’s probably going to lose. Meanwhile, they try to get Jessica on a ridiculous charge, I’m sure you’ll enjoy making them pay for it, especially since you’ll have Trish and Karen at your beck and call when it comes to needing media support. And given vigilantism is supposed to be illegal already, really, none of your clients are likely to be facing anything they wouldn’t have been facing already. Hell, your friend Wanda would be in a much better position right now if this had been in place already. If the UN had authorized their presence in Lagos, and there were established procedures for dealing with collateral damage…you might even get some of your other clients a way out, if the government’s feeling merciful and wants to recruit.”
“Or wants more experimental subjects,” said Foggy darkly.
“I’m sure you’ll be right there making sure none of their human rights get violated.” Marci was actually smiling now. “Really, Foggy, this is good for business. You can make yourself very high profile indeed on it if you want to.”
“I aimed to become a lawyer for money, not fame,” Foggy retorted, wishing the jest could bring her some comfort. But nothing could then. And of course, she couldn’t tell Marci the truth. She probably thought this had to do mostly with Wanda. Though she also probably at least suspected she’d worked with the Daredevil in the past. But she had no idea that Foggy had been reading that treaty and having visions of men breaking down their door to drag her husband away in the night.
Sharing her outrage over the phone with Karen helped a little, but even then they both had to be cautious about what they said. Mostly because of the danger of who in their offices might overhear, but dark thoughts also plagued Foggy about their phones being bugged. She and Matt were both obvious choices to act as Wanda’s lawyers. And if anyone was investigating Daredevil, Karen was pretty much a known associate, and Foggy at least a possible one.
As usual, Matt refused to worry about himself as much as he worried about others. “My fate if I ever get found out will be the same either way,” he said. “It really will, because I’d never sign those Accords. I won’t be any tool for bureaucrats to use as they please and maybe even forcibly remove from Hell’s Kitchen.” Really, his worry was more for Luke, although there was only a limited amount of things he could talk to Foggy about there.
He went to see Luke the next day, and came home looking exhausted and disheartened. He still couldn’t talk about it, of course, but Foggy could make some pretty good guesses on what Luke was probably thinking. The people he defended weren’t the ones their country’s government wanted defended, and never had been. He might even be afraid the people put in charge of him might force him to turn against them. It was all too understandable if he refused to sign on those grounds alone.
At least he had probably talked to Matt, though. When Foggy had called Jessica over it, she had just hung up. She’d have to talk to her sooner or later, but it seemed she was going to drag this one out.
They called Wanda that night, and the next, just trying to keep her spirits up. They kept on doing it, until one night she didn’t answer, and then she showed up in Germany. And then half the Avengers were arrested.
And then, no matter how many calls Foggy made or who she tried to talk to, she couldn’t get into contact with her. The federal authorities hung up on her. Vision hung up on her. Neither Stark nor Romanov answered their phones at all. Matt tried calling, and got the same result. Karen got into a press conference Ross’ deputy held in New York and demanded to know the status of the Avengers, and got in response veiled threats of arrest.
All three of them agreed that last one was the most terrifying event of the still young month of May yet.
A couple of weeks after Wanda’s arrest, the three of them met at Josie’s. It started as a war council meeting, but by then they were running out of ideas to try. It ended with them just getting drunk and ranting.
“Do you know how many people at the Bulletin are *furious* that Barnes turned out to be innocent?” sighed Karen at one point. “Pro-Accords people, of course. Maybe they’re having to face that if Rogers had cooperated, he would’ve been force to possibly even kill his innocent best friend. Although according to at least one of my contacts, he would have *never* done that. Ever. No matter what they threatened to do to him.”
Yeah, Karen had contacts now. She’d known about Peggy Carter’s death three hours before the media had found out. She’d been one of the first on the scene during the last Roxxon-related piece of craziness. Someone had told her she’d managed to piss of the governor of New Jersey, which left Matt anxious, but they were both still proud of her. Though it made the lack of any word on the Avengers, either those in custody or those on the run, even more frustrating.
That was the state they were in when Matt said, “Foggy, I think your period’s starting.”
There were no glasses actually broken, but there was a lot of alcohol spilled over all the surfaces surrounding them. “Sorry,” said Matt, not really sounding it. “Just thought you should go put your pad in now; the blood might start coming out at any moment. I don’t think you’re going to really start cramping for a few hours, though.”
“Well, that’s useful to know,” Foggy conceded. It was going to be hell the next day, though, waking up both hungover and in pain.
“What you must have gone through last year,” mused Karen, “in the later months, after the two of us synchronized. Buy lots of chocolate?”
“I did that anyway,” Matt grinned.
“Wow,” Foggy had to comment out loud. “Look at us, guys. We’re finally talking about the old days without pain.”
“Hey,” said Karen, and her smile was a little wistful, but she said, “they got us here, right? There were a few acts of idiocy we could’ve avoided, maybe…” she glared at Matt, who bowed his head without protest, “but…we’re all right now, aren’t we?”
“Stay tonight?” Foggy asked Matt quietly as they left the bar about an hour later. She asked it of him occasionally now, and he usually agreed. Now he just nodded, and Foggy felt some relief as they clambered up the stairs together. He clung close to her, head almost on her shoulder and his arm too hot a presence pressed against her back. The heat of his breath on her neck sent her mind going places she didn’t really mind it going to.
Outside the door to their apartment, when Foggy was about to dig for the keys, Matt gently took a hold of her head, turned it, and kissed her, slow and sweet. It made her think back to their first kiss, three days after they’d held hands while she’d lain in bed. She’d been the one to cradle his head in her hands then, inviting herself into his lap as they’d lain against the trunk of one of the campus’ bigger trees, his hands tentative on her.
She’d thought the worst of their turmoil was over, then. She supposed it might really be now. It would’ve been nice to be sure, though.
On the other side of the door things rapidly became more heated when Matt had her against it, his kisses turning hard and aggressive, moaning slightly as she grabbed his ass to reel him in even closer. She moaned herself when he got his hands on her breasts, through her blouse, but the heat and pressure of them still felt good. They’d have to go to the bedroom and put a towel down, she reminded herself, but God, she really did want it right here.
They heard a partly awkward, partly amused, but mostly pointed, “Ummmmm….”
At least there was no fear this time. Just anger, and they parted, and turned to glare down the entryway. This time, at the far end, there stood Tony Stark.