She had her own question for him: “What the hell are you doing here?”
“I need your help.”
“You really think we’re going to help you?!”
“Not me,” he shook his head. “Wanda. And Clint, and Sam, and the other guy, the size-changing guy. They need your help.”
“Are you going to tell us where they are now?” Foggy was just getting angrier. “After days of not answering our calls?”
“In a second.” He looked around. “You know, I’d kind of expected you to live in a more expensive place by now.”
“You obviously haven’t noticed the existence of something called student debt,” Foggy snapped at him. Even with Elektra’s money they were still working on that. “We’ve indulged in a couple of amenities,” (Matt now had silk sheets his current woman had paid for), “and I’m taking our old secretary to see Hamilton in December, because we made an agreement about that back when all either of us could do was enter the lottery and hope, but…”
Meanwhile Matt had come back out, and now he strode up to Stark and presented to him one of the silver dollars one of his stranger recent clients had paid him with.
“What’s this?” A confused Stark took it. “Is it a collector’s item?”
“I wouldn’t give it up to you if it was,” said Matt. “But now you have thirty-one pieces.”
Foggy doubted Stark had ever actually read his Bible, and it seemed to take him a moment or so to get the reference. But then he visibly (and probably audibly, to Matt) sagged, his entire body letting go of fight. It made clear to Foggy how tired he was, and more than could even be explained by recent events. Foggy wondered if the rumors about his breaking up with Pepper Potts were true.
“Look,” he said. “I’ve fucked things up a lot. I know that. I fucked things up a year ago, and then I went along with these Accords because I thought it would keep me and my teammates from fucking things up again like that, and…” He shook his head.
“It doesn’t work like that,” said Matt. “You can’t just rely on authority to make the right decision and absolve yourself of having to think. Even soldiers can only do that most of the time; there‘s always going to be a time they’ll be ordered to break international law. And when the stakes are what they usually are when you people get involved? It would be very rare indeed where you could trust a politician, even a UN one, to make what’s truly the right call. It’s as Rogers says; you guys have to take that responsibility yourselves. That’s the reality.”
Stark looked at Foggy. “You really agree with him, there? You’re not a vigilante.”
“No,” said Foggy, because she really did have to establish that. But then she added, “But I’m not interested in having a philosophical debate about it with you, Stark. And, in fact, I’m not really interested in arguing with anyone about who should supervise a team that doesn’t even exist anymore when you still haven’t told us where our friend is and why she and her friends need our help.”
“Yeah, back to that,” said Stark. “I actually only found out just where they were a few days ago, when I saw it firsthand. Ross has built this prison, out in the Atlantic. They’re calling it the Raft. They must have been building it for months, planning this.” He sounded downright haunted. “I really didn’t think they’d do anything like this, I honestly didn’t. I figured they’d just be locked up and tried in the normal Federal system. But they’ve got all four of them there. From what I can tell they’re holding them without charges and without access to lawyers, and they’ve got Wanda in a straitjacket.”
A whole new level of rage had started building up in Foggy when he’d started talking about the existence of the Raft, and when she heard this last detail, her response was to shout: “A FEW DAYS AGO? What the hell have you been doing in the meantime?! While people you’ve had the presumption to call your friends have been stripped of their civil rights, one of them being subjected to cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment, if not outright torture…”
“I only got back to New York City yesterday,” Stark pleaded. “There were…complications. They don’t really have to do with this and I’m not…” There was a thick pain in his voice, and Matt was nodding slightly; he was being honest enough. “Point is, I’m with you; we need to get them out. But I can’t do it. Rhodes is out of commission, and Romanov actually switched sides near the end of the parking lot jamboree, and I’m pretty sure she’s nowhere findable right now. If Vision and I tried on our own, it would probably end with me locked up in there with them and him possibly disassembled. We need to use the law to get them out.”
“Right,” said Matt. “I suppose if Ross was pushed, he’d cite that line in the Accords about countries agreeing to restrain their superheroes by whatever means and methods prove necessary. But no court’s going to see that as overriding the Bill of Rights and international law both. Well, maybe Scalia might have, but he’s dead. Ross must be trying to keep this a secret because the odds are against him getting away with it if the public found out.”
“Exactly,” said Stark. “Now, I had to sign a piece of paper forbidding me to blab. So two things need to happen. One, we need a leak. I’m working on that, but I might need Daredevil’s help. Two, we need a lawsuit.”
“That’s easy enough,” said Foggy. “The two of us pretty much are Wanda’s last next friends standing; we can file a suit on her behalf no trouble. For the other three, we need help from their next friends, and preferably at least two more lawyers, one for each of our prisoners.” She wondered if she could talk Marci into it.
“Clint Barton’s situation might be complicated there,” said Stark, which, duh, Romanov was gone to ground. “Sam Wilson’s case I think it’d probably be his mother; give me your email address and I’ll send you her contact info. Last guy I don’t know, but if you get yourself noticed in the media, hopefully they’ll find you.”
Foggy went over to the new coffee table, took up a pen and paper, and wrote her email address down. “Thanks,” said Stark, as he took it. “I may or may not be literally seeing you at some point.”
Matt suddenly grabbed him and shoved him against the wall, so hard Foggy instinctively jumped back. “Get that leak going,” he growled. “Fast.”
“Fast as I can, I promise,” Stark squeaked. It was another moment before Matt released him, and when he did, he was panting hard, and his fists remained clenched, as he struggled to keep control of himself.
Foggy turned and retreated to the bedroom. She had seen Matt like this exactly twice before. Although the second time it hadn’t been for long, because after the first, Matt had begged her to never stay around again. “I’d never hurt you, I swear it,” he said. “But I don’t want you to see me like this.” He’d been near tears, so Foggy had agreed.
Both of them had been before he’d taken to going out on the street to get this anger out of him. When Foggy had first seen that grainy footage from a hospital bed, she’d thought of those two times. There were also the occasional dents she saw in their possessions even now, and the realization he must have hurled them into a wall at a time when he’d been safely alone.
She heard footsteps and the door closing; Tony had left without another word. She heard a yell, and what she thought was one of their lamps getting hurled into the floor. When she heard Matt sobbing, she nearly went back, but when she heard his fists hitting the wall, it got her to stay put, to take her jacket, tights, and shoes off, and lay herself down on the bed to wait it out.
Eventually his blows to the walls slowed, then stopped. The crying took longer, until Foggy was just once again thinking to hell with it, she was getting up and going out there, when Matt came to her instead. He collapsed next to her, and nudged in. She knew he was focused on her heartbeat, which had thankfully long slowed down. He was still crying, but the worst of it was passed. “I’m sorry,” he said.
“No, you’re angry,” she said. “But I’m with you on this one. Heck, you leave anything out there I can smash?”
She got the chuckle she’d aimed for, though it was a rough one. “Maybe wait on that. This is probably just going to get worse. Especially since I kind of want to invade the Raft and dramatically drop you into the middle of it to serve Ross the papers. Of course we don’t have the resources for that…”
“Too bad,” said Foggy, leaning over to place her lips near his ear. “It would be kind of fun. Of course we’d probably get arrested for it…”
“No, no, no,” he said hastily, “you don’t get arrested. If anyone asks, I kidnapped you and stole the papers, and you didn’t break and enter the Raft willingly, although now that you’re there, and I dropped the papers next to you, you might as well serve them, right?”
“He’d probably find some reason to arrest me anyway.” After a moment, she added, “He might as it is. For both of us. But it doesn’t matter,” she raised her voice slightly to stop his objections, “because I’m still doing it. It’s the right thing to do, and people besides you have the right to risk everything in this kind of situation, as I know Karen’s told you more than once.”
“She’s done some very stupid things.”
“So have you. It’s my turn.”
“You did a stupid thing, once. You married me.”
Foggy would’ve refuted that one had she been less exhausted. Instead she just said, “That was well over a year ago; I’m due again. Besides, you’ll be doing it with me, right? This is a job for more than one lawyer. We’ll be working together again. Well, kind of.” She couldn’t hide her happiness when she thought about that. And hopefully Matt would do things right this time, like he had with Luke Cage.
By afternoon, she decided she had to avoid actually compelling anyone else into it. When she had a couple of hours free, she took Cheryl into her office, locked the door behind them, and told her the whole thing, although she tweaked it to leave any mention of Stark needing Daredevil’s help out.
“So in conclusion,” she finished, “My husband and I are about to piss off some of the most powerful people in the world. And honestly, if they’re willing to do this? Who knows what else they’re willing to do, including possibly going after anyone that’s so much as breathed on us. If you don’t want to risk that, I’ll understand completely. It would probably be best if you left me before the leak happened. We’re not planning on letting anyone know we had any idea it was coming, and you’d probably be able to slip away unnoticed. But I’m not sure how long that gives you to decide.”
Cheryl stood up, and walked to the window, clearly lost in thought. She didn’t want to run. Foggy was sure of that. But she hadn’t survived her hard life by just choosing to do the idealistic thing without thinking it through first.
Finally, she said, “Do you really think no one will think you two didn’t know it was coming? When they know the two of you are connected to both Wanda and Daredevil? Even if nobody ever gets their hands on a scrap of evidence of it, people will probably still believe it.”
She was probably right, unfortunately. “Maybe if we filed the lawsuit a day or so later, made it look like we needed time after hearing to write out and polish the petition…”
“You meant that thing of standard legalese that is mostly going to say what just about every habeas petition that came out of Gitmo said, with change of names, dates, and location?”
“And cutting out all the bit about the law of war, since Ross isn’t even trying to hide behind that one.” Foggy couldn’t keep the quiet, hard fury that had been sitting in her chest since the previous night out of her voice then.
Cheryl noticed, of course. “You really do hate that the world’s unfair, don’t you?”
“Since I was a kid.” Hell, maybe she had never advanced that far beyond being the teenager who would yell at a guy even before he called her a fat bitch, and then get everyone mad at her for telling the nearest teacher what he’d said. The teachers hadn’t always been happy with her for doing this either.
“I suppose I should’ve realized working for you would get me into this situation sooner or later,” she chuckled. “And you really can’t let your girl rot in the Raft, can you?”
“But this still doesn’t have to be your fight,” said Foggy. “At the very least, we can try to get you and your family away from it.”
“Or,” said Cheryl, turning back around, “you can keep us unnoticed and not worth going after. This is going to get media attention, one way or another. But we don’t have to be photographed together, and you don’t have to give my name up. I’d rather avoid being photographed at all, though I suppose if they mob the firm I might have to just mix myself in with the other PAs, hope they don’t figure out which one’s yours. You have to talk about me, you just say, ‘my assistant’ or something like that. And the day any of the threatening letters we’ll no doubt receive mention any member of my family by name, I will be out of here. Understand?”
“Absolutely,” said Foggy, relief flooding her. It would’ve been hell to lose Cheryl, going into this.
“Oh, and while we’re on this subject,” she said, “don’t think I don’t realize you and your husband’ve already got one dangerous man still alive already gunning for you. You haven’t been as subtle when it comes to talking about Wilson Fisk as you think, and I’ve heard things. I’d tell you where, but you haven’t been telling me much about it, so I think I’ll hold on that for now. That puts me in danger and I’m out too.”
She didn’t quite hide her anger, and Foggy had to hang her head. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I should’ve…although the truth is, even I shouldn’t know what I know about that. Even Karen doesn’t, though of course she’s pissing people off on her own these days.”
“Wow, you didn’t tell her?” Cheryl sounded genuinely surprised, and maybe a mite less angry. “Though then again, I suppose she wouldn’t care much anyway, would she? You need to get used to having a sane secretary, m’am.”
“I don’t mind,” Foggy assured her. “Really, it leaves me much less stressed.”
Karen’s face was thunder before Foggy was halfway through the story, but when she finished it, she just asked, “Do you want to leak it to me? Have a reporter you trust?”
“I think Stark’s aiming for the Times or something like that,” said Foggy. “Or possibly have a dummy account post the proof of it to Facebook. I don’t know if they have any cameras in the Raft or not, although he probably had one somewhere in that suit, and the means to make sure no one can determine the photos came from it. I’ll keep you forewarned as much as possible if you want, though. You can start drafting your outraged response beforehand.”
“But what if we revealed his part in it? Why should he get to keep his hands clean of everything? I’m really wondering, Foggy. They’re only in there because he helped put them there, whether he knew about it or not. Why should he get to retreat to his luxury home in California with his girlfriend, if she’s still with him, and relax while Wanda’s in a straitjacket?!”
Foggy certainly felt the same way she did about it when it was said out loud. But she knew how she had to answer that question almost as quickly. “He’s a rich man who in spite of everything probably isn’t going to be entirely without soft power even after the leak. At the very least, we can’t afford to lose him as an ally, and we definitely don’t want him mad at us too.”
“You two don’t usually make allies like that.” Karen was in that state, where her eyes were narrowed and her angelic looks just made her scarier.
“We don’t usually take on the United States government either,” said Foggy. “This is, this is the equivalent of running down the street and hoping your Punisher actually is up on the rooftops, because your staying alive might depend on it.” She knew for a fact Karen had been in that situation at least once. It wouldn’t have surprised her to hear there’d been other times either.
Bringing Frank Castle up also raised the point that Karen was kind of being hypocritical about now. She was quick to realize that, and she sighed and said, “I can’t promise I won’t grill him until he screams if we ever have to meet.”
“That I think you can do,” said Foggy. It was no worse than what Matt had done to him the previous night. “In fact, I think I’d like to be on hand to witness that. Preferably with my phone camera on. I’d want to refer to it so I can describe his face to Matt afterwards as accurately as possible.”
“Oh, you would, wouldn’t you?” Karen doesn’t quite laugh, but her voice goes soft like it. “Although I don’t suppose we can actually plan to give me a chance to grill him?”
“Not yet, but don’t assume it’ll never happen.” She was right, after all, in that Tony deserved to suffer. Even if, “Although I do wonder if you would’ve had the heart for it had you seen him last night. He looked like his was suffering then. I suppose it’s not news he feels guilty, but seriously, he was just…I don’t even know how to describe it. Maybe you could’ve found appropriate words.”
“Maybe,” said Karen, “but I write about misery every day. See a lot of it too. I don’t think I’d have been as moved.”
“That’s unlike you,” Foggy couldn’t help but observe.
She shrugged. “I’m a harder bitch now. For more than one reason, most of which you know. Same as Matt isn’t really the man he was even when I first met you two. Honestly, Foggy, it amazes me, sometimes, how you’ve still stayed so much of yourself, although even you’ve changed a lot in this past year and a half.”
They heard a clatter on the roof, and as always, they both felt their fear leave them, taken with the relief that Matt had not perished out on the streets that night. It was back a moment later, of course, as all the possibilities flooded them of what condition he might be in. Their eyes craned anxiously for the first sight of him.
He came in walking normally, and with no obvious wounds. He didn’t even have much blood on him as far as Foggy could spot, and she’d gotten good at spotting blood, even on the red suit. But the moment his mask came off, they could see from his face that he’d still run into something he hadn’t liked.
Before they could ask, he said, “Stark met me on the roofs. He’s got everything set up. He just needs to make sure nobody’s in a certain hallway in Rand Enterprises at a certain time of night. I told him I’m not doing anything unless Rand himself is fine with it-I don’t care about the Meachum side of that, but I still want his approval. I don’t know if he will be; I know he registered his powers as soon as the Accords came out. I suppose he must have signed them too. Stark claimed…”
“Never mind what he claimed,” Karen interrupted. “Surely if Rand was willing to go along with this, Stark would’ve approached him. I know he has enough influence with the company he can certainly get a hallway cleared.”
“Believe me, I’m not just taking him at his word. I might even approach Rand myself. I know he’s gone out at night at least once since the Accords, though it wasn’t connected back to him, so I might even run into him.”
“Be sure to ask him why he’s not doing the dirty work himself,” said Karen. Foggy had gotten the impression some time ago that her opinion on Danny Rand had gone down considerably when she'd actually met him.
“I will.” Matt had gone into the kitchenette and poured himself a glass of water. “But this is still going to happen fairly quickly. Stark wants to do it within the next week. I think he’d have done it tomorrow if I hadn’t insisted I get Rand’s agreement first. He even asked me how long I wanted Wanda to be in that straitjacket.” He gulped down the water and placed the glass down hard on the counter. “Never mind that it could be months even if we did do it tomorrow. Even if we motion to force them to take it off her immediately.”
“The judge had better grant that one, at the very least,” Karen growled. “So long as he doesn’t turn out to be a right-wing stooge.”
“Better hope we avoid that,” Foggy agreed, though she was aware that judge almost certainly wouldn’t have the final word. She was pretty sure this one was at least going to be appealed to the Supreme Court, and it would be pretty surprising if they didn’t take it.
That would be something, she thought, if they got to speak to the Supreme Court. Hopefully with a decent ninth judge having been appointed by then; the election would be long passed, even if the Republicans actually did hold out. She supposed the case might also attract the attention and support of some famous high-profile lawyers who would do the arguing instead, because they’d be more experienced and better at it.
But it was a nice image, her and Matt before the judges, him killing it dead with his rhetoric at its best-and it would be, if she had to tie him to his computer with his earpiece cord at night to get him to stay home and work on what he was going to say. And she, somewhere her biomom had never gotten to, rescuing one of her oldest friends from the great bullies of the world, doing what she’d dreamed of doing when she’d first decided to go to law school. And with her husband by her side, even.
If she and Matt never did get to work on a case together again after this, at least she would have the privilege of sharing with him the greatest of both their battles.