“But if that’s so,” said Foggy, “why do you need Matt to clear your hallway? Karen seems convinced you could do that on your own.”
With an embarrassed look, Danny said, “It’s true that if I asked Ward, he’d give the order. But it’s, um, unlikely everyone who works on that floor would take it seriously. And some of them would probably stick around because they want to know what crazy things I’m up to that I don’t want anyone seeing. We’d never actually get the place empty. Please tell her I’m telling the truth, Murdock.”
“He’s telling the truth,” said Matt. He was actually smiling a little.
Danny put the bottle on the floor; he still wasn’t entirely comfortable with alcohol. “A lot of the people who work for Rand, I think they view me as some strange exotic child. Some have even developed a weird condescending affection for me. I’m a living mascot. Someone even designed me an Iron Fist costume. It looked really awful; even I could tell that.” He shook his head. “There are have been dozens of Iron Fists over centuries. It is a long time, vaunted, honorable position that means so much. And nobody here understands that at all. Nobody cares.”
Foggy made it a point in her life to not be too sympathetic to any complaining superhero, even the one she was married to. But even Matt was still smiling, and he said, “You know, if this goes on, maybe we can get you introduced to Thor, although nobody seems to have any idea where he is and it certainly isn’t here right now. From what I’ve heard about him, he might appreciate learning about a bunch of past superheroes.” And they also shared that tendency towards social ineptness, though Danny was getting better about that now, and anyway Matt was too polite to mention it.
“Well,” Danny grinned back, “from what I’ve heard about Thor, if he were here, you wouldn’t have to sue for habeas, would you? He sounds like he’s so strong we can’t restrain him, and like he’d break his friends out of prison no matter what.”
“No,” said Foggy, who had already thought about the possibility of the Avengers getting free on their own. “Even if they escape the Raft, they’d still be fugitives unable to return to the country that’s now home for all of them without getting unlawfully imprisoned again. We’d still have to go to court to protect them from that fate.”
In the end, Danny went home, and Matt stayed with her that night, making love to her with a zest that didn’t happen for them during sex as much as it used to. When they were done, he buried his face in her neck, and she held her hands on his back and felt it rise and fall with his breathing, until they both fell asleep without even cleaning up, which was always a bad idea, but Foggy couldn’t bring herself to care.
She called Karen the next morning, but neither was willing to talk about anything secret over the phone. Instead they met in the park during their lunch break, one a bit longer than either of them usually took, but they needed to relax a little while they still could. At this time tomorrow everything would likely be changed.
“We should definitely go out to eat tonight,” she said. “Just a diner, or something, unless you want to pay for both of us; my finances are a bit tight right now.”
“Oh, I’m all in favor of cheap,” said Foggy. “Who knows that this won’t cost me my job.” She mostly meant it jokingly, but of course it was a very real possibility.
“In that case,” Karen hesitated, then said, “there’s one near Rand Enterprises I ate at about a month back, while that whole…thing…was happening. The food’s very good, good enough I was already thinking about going back there at some point. I’m probably going to get out of my office a little later than usual today; this isn’t the only story going on for me. We could meet at eight.”
Matt probably wouldn’t go out as early as eight, not at this time of year. But Foggy and Karen often lingered over dinner when they ate out together, sometimes talking for a couple of hours or more. Foggy didn’t know exactly what the plan was, but the clearing of a hallway was something that struck her as having to happen early in it.
Karen was looking at her in such a way to indicate she was intending to leave it up to her. But that wouldn’t do; tonight would be agony for the both of them. “Do you want to be nearby, when we can’t even know when this is going to happen?” she asked her.
“I do,” said Karen. “It’s foolish of me, when I don’t think either of us will be able to do anything even if something does go wrong. We’d probably even have to hide our reactions if we heard a commotion, just in case Daredevil gets connected back to this. But, you know, this is the first time since you told me that I’ve known beforehand something big’s happening tonight. At least if we’re in sight of the building and there’s no sign of a commotion, we’ll know the odds of something going wrong right now are low. I might even be able to sleep tonight afterwards.”
Foggy thought about all that. She considered those nights during the whole Punisher/Elektra saga, when even when she’d had all the casework to distract her, she’d hated so much not having any idea of where Matt was and what he was doing while knowing how much more danger he was in than was even usual. She thought of the night he’d gone to rescue Karen and her fellow captives, feeling like she was dying of terror over the both of them, how relieving it had been to be there when she, at least, had come out of that building unharmed. She also thought about how hard it had been to stay outside, down on the street, not fully able to tell what was going on with Matt even when he’d seemed to be on the roof.
She considered the probability of their being able to hear anything tonight anyway, and it hit her that it was more likely they would see the reaction: people leaving the building, whispers gathering, police cars probably also gathering, though hopefully by the time too many of those arrived Matt would be out. They might or might not see him leave, depending on how good he was. (Obviously, it would be better if they didn’t.) Then something else hit her. “Karen,” she said, “If a scene gathers outside, you’re going to have to go out there and be a reporter. I can come with you if you want, but are you willing to do that?”
Karen closed her eyes; Foggy watched her consider it. She watched a young couple walk past their bench holding hands; Hispanic, and so talking in Spanish. She saw the young man’s eyes in how he looked at his companion, though, and that look was universal. He made her laugh about something when Foggy was staring at their backs. She felt something strange twist inside her.
“Yes,” Karen finally said. “If I didn’t know what was going on, I’d be hurrying to the scene the moment I heard anyway. Why not make it convenient for myself?”
“Then we’re doing it,” said Foggy. “Meet you there at eight?”
When she told Karen so, her friend laughed and said, “I keep meaning to drop into here whenever I’m in the area. And I’m traveling around a lot more of New York than I used to.”
“So how much have you been to places, now?” Foggy asked. “Discounting your explorations when you first arrived.”
“And all that time living in Queens?” she smirked. She’d lived there quite some time after her arrival in New York, moving to Hell’s Kitchen only after the Incident. She had once teased Matt and Foggy about seeing more of their home city than they themselves had. Which was totally not fair, especially since unlike Matt, Foggy actually had been outside New York.
But even discounting all that, she had plenty to talk about, including her recent trip to Staten Island, which she’d never been to before. She was in the middle of a lengthy talk about the various issues the ferry terminal was still enduring four years after the Incident, even though the building itself had gone more or less undamaged, with their food more or less eaten, when they saw the first police car drive past and then stop just outside Rand Enterprises.
They both stopped talking for a minute or so. “Only one,” Karen said, very, very quietly. “It’ll look suspicious if I go out now, won’t it?”
“Yeah, at least wait for two of them.”
It was a worrisome development, though. A single police car, after all, wasn’t going to be of much use if they thought they were about to engage Daredevil. But they might bring only one if they had managed to arrest him.
The two of them had to continue to talk. Karen resumed her storytelling, although Foggy barely heard enough of her words to be able to tell that. She might have even turned incoherent for all her friend could tell. She hoped no one was listening to them too closely.
They both were very aware when people started coming out of the building. At first it was only about half a dozen people, still not enough to justify going to look. Although that no one had emerged with Daredevil in handcuffs was reassuring by then. But when more followed, clear even in the street lamps, Foggy saw Karen begin to fidget. “Think it’s time to call for the check?” It probably would’ve been anyway, so Foggy just said, “I’ll get it.” She did more often than not, and it was her husband who had dragged them here.
As she paid, a second police car pulling up. A number of the people sitting by the windows were watching, so it was easy for Karen to openly be focused on it. Then when a familiar figure emerged from the second car, she grinned. “Brett. He is not going to be expecting to see me here this quickly…” But it would very far from the first time she’d been among the reporters asking him questions at the scene.
By the time they had traversed the half a block between the diner and the sidewalk right outside Rand Enterprises, the crowd had gotten big enough it wasn’t even easy to navigate, especially when they only had the street lamps with which to do so. But Karen had her notepad out, and Foggy knew she was listening to what everyone around them was saying. She’d been in this scene with her before, and seen her fill multiple pages before she even asked anyone any questions.
She listened herself, and some of what she heard was reassuring, such as “he’s long gone by now,” “don’t know why they’re still here, there’s not that much left to do,” and especially, “I’m not sure anyone even got a clear look at him, I mean, it looked kind of like Daredevil, but it might have even been someone else.” Combined that with the fact that Daredevil rarely came up to this part of Manhattan, and maybe the world would convince itself it hadn’t been him.
Foggy had long suspected Karen and Brett had developed the ability to have whole conversations with looks across crowds, or just across Foggy herself when they were in the precinct together. When Brett finally laid eyes on them when he was in the middle of talking with another officer, the “Oh, you have got to be kidding me, don’t come anywhere near me right now” look was one both of them could understand. Karen even seemed to nod at it slightly.
Besides, a woman near them then recognized her, and pushed through the crowd calling, “Excuse me, are you Karen Page of the New York Bulletin?”
Sometimes the first person who wanted to tell the story wasn’t the best person to get it from, but Karen was still pretty softhearted, when it came down to it. “Yes,” she said, shamelessly nudging Foggy aside until the two of them were standing next to each other. “Can you tell me what happened here?”
“Ha!” The woman laughed. “I know what happened with the Daredevil before you did! Don’t you listen to that nonsense the other people are saying, that it was actually the Iron Fist. I heard him hiss to someone that the stairs were that way and I saw that YouTube video which had his voice in it.” Oh yes, *that* video. Foggy had spent the week after it was first uploaded in constant terror.
“Can you describe to me exactly what happened?” Karen asked, the picture of professional calm.
“Well, I didn’t see all of it,” said the woman hastily, making Foggy suspect she hadn’t seen most of it either. “But we all heard the commotion when it started. I must say, I really thought the Daredevil would be quieter coming into a hallway, but he was slamming the door at one end and then he was loudly running all the way to the other, and you could hear him trying to get one of the office doors open, though I think whoever he was after had locked up and gone home for the night.”
“No, wait!” A nearby man cut in, budging up to them. “It couldn’t have been the stairwell door he slammed. He came in from the ceiling. Did you see where the tiles were all loosened?”
Knowing Matt, he probably had come in from the ceiling. Foggy supposed he’d probably slammed the door just to confuse people or something. But that possibility apparently hadn’t occurred to their interviewee, who said, “No, I heard that door, and then I heard the running. And then silly Sandy ran out, and she did see him on the ceiling, or so she told me just now, and I don’t know what he did, but she ran away screaming. And then some more people came out of their offices, but I thought that was ridiculous; he was right outside, and it was smarter to shelter in place. So I got behind my desk, and I think I heard some whacks or something, and then I didn’t hear anything for a while…”
“You liar!” Another man interrupted her. “You were never there. If you had been there, you would’ve heard the scream after the whacks. That crazy vigilante was trying to punch one of his holes in the wall. I would’ve thought he was Luke Cage, but the people who saw him are saying he wasn’t big enough. And I don’t know who was talking to you but he was never on the ceiling. He couldn’t have been. They have it waxed. Even the Spider Man couldn’t do anything with that ceiling.”
“There wasn’t any screaming at all!” Another woman indignantly interrupted. “There’s no one on our floor the Daredevil would make scream. On the floor below us…maybe, but-”
“I’m not saying Sandy had a good reason to scream,” said the first woman. “But I heard her do so, and she definitely screamed something about the Devil, so I know it was him.” Karen didn’t say anything about how she had originally claimed to recognize his whisper, so Foggy followed her lead there. “I stayed there and I heard everything. I was just wondering if maybe he’d gone into one of the offices and I might make a break for the stairs…”
“Ms. Page!” Another woman who looked vaguely familiar to Foggy shoved herself in between Karen and her interview subject. “Of course you’re here, aren’t you? Anyway, don’t listen to Mary here, she’s a pathological liar; I don’t even think she works on that floor…”
“You’re the liar, you bitch!” The woman in question yelled back, and she raised her arms that made Foggy fear violence. Karen too, since she visibly flinched, even though Mary was now turned away from her.
And Matt. Since he’d started this whole Daredevil thing, Foggy had become convinced all the extra senses included one that automatically told him when any woman he cared about was in danger. (There was one story Jessica Jones had told she still didn’t quite believe). Now, on the roof of a neighboring building, she caught a flicker of movement, barely visible in the dark. She might not have spotted it if she hadn’t known that figure so well. He didn’t have to stay near the edge to watch, Foggy reminded herself. But since there was no way he didn’t have his ears trained on the two of them this minute, he’d probably stay there until they left.
Well, at least she had confirmation he wasn’t in the building anymore.
And Brett, who had decided he was willing to talk to her now, because he came over and barked at Mary, “Hey! M’am, I think we’ve had enough violence on this site tonight.”
Mary quailed back, but she said, “I was on that floor! Don’t you want me statement on what happened?”
“She wasn’t on that floor, sir,” said the other woman. “Just ignore her.”
Poor Brett clearly already had a headache, and this obviously wasn’t going to help. Karen’s voice was gentle as she asked, “Any official statements at this time?”
“Only that we’re pretty sure there was an unknown intruder, and we think he’s not in the building anymore. And he left a big hole in the wall. At least it stands to reason the one we found was from him. Though we can’t figure out a logical reason why he did so yet.”
Foggy couldn’t either. Karen just thanked him. “I’ll leave you alone, then,” she said. “For now.”
“Um, Karen,” Foggy tried to drop a meaningful tone into her voice without making it obvious. “How much longer do you think we should stay on site?”
Karen caught it, and looked around, torn. “I really should at least talk to a few more people…but I don’t think any of them are *that* likely to need a lawyer. You can go home if you think your husband’s going to worry. He really should not be worrying then.” A meaningful tone there, one Foggy really hoped Matt would heed.
“Thanks. Contact each other when we’re home safe?”
Foggy elbowed her way out of the crowd and started to walk home. It was far enough away that normally she’d get a cab or something, but obviously there were special circumstances tonight. When she was sure she was out of everyone’s sight, she turned into an alleyway, and said, in a moderate voice, “You heard what Karen said, right?”
A couple of minutes later Matt descended, and was standing next to her. “Crowd’s clearing out now anyway,” he said. “Karen’s talking to a pair of guys right now. Of course from this distance it’s harder for me to tell if they’re telling her the truth or not, though what they’re saying sounds like it.”
“What happened, exactly? Do you really form a hole in the wall?”
“Stark gave me something with which to form it while making it sound like I’d punched it. Something the Iron Fist and Luke Cage can both do, although too many people saw my outline to think I was the latter. Just the outline, though; I tried to avoid having too much light hit me. He also gave me things with which to attach myself to the ceiling, though he told me he didn’t want anyone thinking I actually was Spider-Man. He sounded pretty protective of that guy. I’ve heard rumors that he might be kind of young. But he also told me he wanted this to feel like a protest on behalf of all the superheroes on both sides of the original debate.”
“Which he himself still says out of.”
“Yeah.” Matt sighed, then cocked his head slightly as he listened again. “Karen’s calling Ellison, and it sounds like Ward Meachum’s on the scene. Think she’ll get anything interesting out of him?”
“We can ask her tomorrow,” said Foggy firmly. “Meanwhile, you need to get out of the area before the police decide to start searching it. I am walking home now.” And with that, she turned and started walking, and he, cooperating for once, headed back for the rooftops to shadow her.
It was a bit longer of a walk than she would’ve liked normally, but by the time she was headed up the stairs to their apartment she wasn’t anything worse than a little out of breath. That took her long enough that she came in to find Matt had already stripped out of his costume and to his leggings. He hadn’t taken any blood on him, though he was covered in a visible sheen of sweat. Even after the stress of the evening, it was a sight that did things to Foggy.
“If I stopped going out…” he commented when the door was closed. “Do you think anyone would wonder why?”
“They’d probably figured you been killed,” said Foggy, letting her body tell Matt the rest of her thoughts.
“But it wouldn’t be permanent,” he said. “Just until…just until I can be certain that no one’s going to try to kill us.”
Of course he’d been thinking about that possibility. “But you’d have to worry about two more lawyers, then; whichever two join us, and if one of them’s Marci, she isn’t exactly the sort of person willing to stay home every night. You can focus on those involved in this, though. Noone would see anything odd in that.” Foggy had walked over into the bedroom as they’d talked, and now she started to shed her own clothes.
A bare arm wrapped itself around her a moment before Matt leaned himself against her back, now in nothing but his briefs. It wasn’t even particularly sexual, just him clearly wanting to be in contact with her. “I wonder how Marci would react to seeing Daredevil, though. Her feelings on him are pretty mixed, aren’t they?”
“I think under the circumstances…” Foggy’s phone chimed, and she reluctantly pushed Matt’s arm away to fish it out of her bag. “Karen,” she said, as more texts from her friend pinged up on the phone. “She’s caught a cab home. Says she’s almost sad the leak’s probably happening tomorrow; she got enough tonight for more than a few hours’ coverage. As it is, she’s going to burning the midnight oil. What did they say to her?” They must have; she wouldn’t be excited over writing this kind of story related to Daredevil otherwise.
“We’ll find out tomorrow, won’t we?” Matt put his arm back in place, added his other one, and practically nuzzled himself against her neck. There was an elation coming into his voice now, as if he was proud of what he had done that night, now that he no longer had to worry about either of the two people he cared about most. “We should probably go to sleep. We’ve got a busy day tomorrow.”
Foggy considered the time on her phone before dropping it onto her bag. “It’s not that late,” she said. “I think we’ll be safely asleep by midnight even if we take a bit of time to work off excess energy. As you are right now, baby, I don’t think any attempts on your part to fall asleep immediately would work.” That was very true. Also, having him just like this, all happy and excited and satisfied, while having no new injuries, well, that left Foggy wanting get her hands on him, to take every moment of it she could.
"With that kind of argument, Ms. Nelson,” said Matt, half maneuvering her around and half letting her turn her head until their mouths could reach each other, hot and hungry, and he was already going for the buttons of her blouse, while she could feel that bare back already, her fingers light and teasing to make him pant into her mouth.
As they fell onto the bed, Matt now completely naked and her not far off, Foggy felt a tiny stab of guilt, thinking about Karen working so hard right now while she and Matt got to enjoy themselves. As was probably Tony Stark, though Foggy felt much less sorry for him.
But, she reminded herself, she and Matt would be the ones working the hardest before too long. Maybe not tomorrow, no, tomorrow no one with news-related jobs was going to get much rest. That might also be true for a few more days after that. But once the initial furor died down, while Karen would remain on the job somewhat, it would be she, Matt, Marci, if she could rope her in, and whatever other lawyers joined them who’d be up the latest at night, who’d be doing all the heavy lifting, and might even have to forego any other cases for at least a bit. She sure hoped Stark was willing to fork some money over to Matt for that at least.
So for now, Foggy sighed into Matt’s kisses, tried to kick her stockings off, and let the last of her rational thoughts fly away when Matt found that sensitive spot by her hips and started madly kissing it with her blouse still batting at his hair.
They did go to sleep faster than usual afterwards. Matt especially barely toweled himself down before he crawled back under the sheets, and he was still enough when Foggy joined him, a scant few minutes later, that he had to already be asleep.
She herself stayed awake just long enough to think that it was a pity she couldn’t sleep in the next day, but at least Matt could get an extra half an hour or so if she was clever enough getting out of bed.