The Axe, Finale

August 02, 2014:

The Kingpin of crime feels the noose of the law being brought around his neck, but still has one last trick up his sleeve.

Hell's Kitchen

Once a bastion of poor and working-class Irish Americans,
Hell's Kitchen's proximity to Midtown has changed it over
the last three decades of the 20th century and into the new
millennium. The 1969 edition of the City Planning
Commission's Plan for New York City reported that
development pressures related to its Midtown location were
driving people of modest means from the area. Today, the
area is gentrifying.

Characters

NPCs: Mark Roosevelt, NYPD Detective - Gary Immerman, NYPD Tech - Wilson Fisk, Kingpin of Crime in NYC - Bullseye

Mentions:

Mood Music: [*https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KuG94IOFjZc Frontera/Trigger by Calexico]


Fade In…

The Axe, Finale

The call comes to Pezzini.

It's Detective Roosevelt. They have the warrant.

Sure it's not enough for an arrest, but it's enough to get inside Kingpin's penthouse in Lower Manhattan. As the SWAT teams spill out onto the streets, cover the exits, and prepare for the search. For years, the Kingpin, now known to NYCPD as Wilson Fisk, has evaded the men in blue, stayed one step ahead of the police, of the press, and of vigilantes during his run as the number one in New York City's criminal underworld.

Things began to unravel on Fisk as soon as Giles Gunroe was apprehended with the Axe of Perun. It wasn't his mistake, surely, it was Gunroe's. The latter's decision to post the artifact on Balcerowski's black market trading site was infiltrated by authorities. That led them to Gunroe. Gunroe led them to Lester Poindexter, aka Ben Poindexter, aka the Pitcher, aka a thousand different names. Gunroe led them to Bullseye, which has led them to Fisk.

10 years ago Rhys Bale didn't know what to do when his sister came to him. Struggling in an abusive relationship, she tried to break up with her fiance, Markos Papadapolous. Not taking no for an answer, Markos began to stalk Bale's sister and on one occasion an interaction became violent. A knife was involved.

Bale went to the police but he'd long been on their radar for his proximity to underworld art dealings and his eccentric love life and drug use. Nothing major, but it was a cocktail that was bad enough to get him on the NYPD's radar. When he came to them, they scoffed, and he took matters into his own hands.

The money would be paid in installments, but what Bale found in dealing with the Kingpin is the installments just keep coming. Percentages and principals weren't an issue anymore. No matter how much money he paid, Kingpin would always come back to more.

So why was he shot? Bale had threatened to go to the police a second time. Perhaps Kingpin had reason to believe they'd listen this time, he'd noticed that over the past few months the police and their bend towards corruption had been mitigated. In short, his grasp on the department was waning.

Bullseye, the assassin d'ans did the job. In a fool's move he got rid of the axe with Gunroe, was seen at the storage unit, and failed to kill Charlie the hooker. Usually these things had moved so slick; in years past these things would have never been a problem. But there was no fly in the ointment back then. There was no meddling Tombraider or Daredevil. There were no cops like Pezzini or Manning at the Department.

"What do you want me to do?" asks Fisk's assistant as he looks out the window at the SWAT teams begin to encircle the building. "Where do I put the money?"

The Kingpin calmly lights a cigarette, inhales sharply and lets it slowly billow out giving an evil haze over his massive bald head. "You'd better get out of here," he mutters to Bullseye, now cloaked in a black and white ensemble costume.

"Sir, the money. What do you want me to do with it?"

From our vantage point, people in suits and dresses are moving quickly to shred as many documents as possible. There's even three barrels in the office where they've begun to burn paperwork.

"Move the money to the East, like we talked about."

Across the top of an adjacent building, Daredevil turns to Lara Croft, "It ends tonight." Everything he's worked for throughout the years. He's dreamt of this day. He could taste it. He opens his mouth to say something, but falls short. His head turns in confusion, "It's Bullseye. I can hear his heartbeat. He's making a run for it."

*

Lara stands beside Daredevil, waiting, watching, her expression blank. This man killed her friend for a completely petty reason. For being called on his extortion. For being threatened to have his practices revealed to the police. A criminal murdering someone for calling them a criminal seems particularly rude to the British adventurer. Her hazel eyes are locked on the windows, a thousand yard stare. "I want him taken down," she says in a flat tone. "He pulled the trigger on Rhys. Fisk may have commissioned it, but Bullseye did it." She turns her head to regard Hornhead. "Can you take him?" she asks, unsnapping the holsters for her guns.

*

One year sober. Sober, in the sense that he's avoided cooking dope on a dirty spoon and dealing with the consequences at the end of a needle. Kwabena Odame may be a man with plenty of vices, but for a little over twelve months, heroin was no longer one of them.

His last bout with the drug had gone, ironically, much to the same melody as Rhys Bale's encounter with Kingpin. Oh, the drug dealers couldn't use their usual tricks on a mutant like Shift, but at the end of the day, a junkie is a junkie, and there isn't a dollar too stiff to pay for a get well.

He's never met the Kingpin, but the bastard made his life a living hell that year.

That's why he's going along on this stupid little crusade, after the trail with Charlie dried up and landed him next to Daredevil in a foam-filled hotel room.

"Not alone." Fully masked and wearing his gunmetal gray uniform, the African walks up toward Daredevil. He'd landed in silence upon the rooftop some seconds ago, his smoke form utterly silent against the wind. Shift's expression remains muted behind the mask, though it looks directly at Lara for a moment, before coming to rest upon Daredevil. "But he can't hurt me." His head turns back toward Daredevil, the grim frown upon his exposed lips matching the dark tone of his voice. "He's valuable to Fisk. We take him, we have levahredge."

*

Sara Pezzini passed her psych eval to get to work. Or at least she provided the answers she knows the shrink wants to hear. She's done it enough times. So when she shows up at the scene on Roosevelt's call, she's got her badge at her belt again, wearing standard, department-issue gear. Of course, so far as the department is concerned, she's just a detective and not SWAT, so she's not in the first round of people headed for the building. No matter how much work she's been doing with SHIELD. Which explains why she's pacing restlessly near the squad cars, watching the building. "C'mon, people," she mutters. "That's our evidence in there."

*

With Paul just declared alive once more, there was no reason to keep Pezzini off duty. That would require temporary partners and paperwork. And even the Captain - especially the Captain - hates paperwork. "Not for long if he's smart." And nothing about the Kingpin implies otherwise. "We'll just have to hope the techs can get something from the computers. Assuming they don't have time to detroy the hard drives."

*

"We're about to find out," the Daredevil murmurs. He turns to regard Shift over his shoulder. "If we get Bullseye," he corrects, "We get them both. Dead to rights." Since his days of training with Stick, Matt has never come up against anyone as talented in hand to hand combat as this Lester Poindexter. No one as murderous. No one as effective. And that's nothing compared to his ability to use anything as a weapon. And never miss.

Daredevil simply falls off the edge of the building. His body tumbles downwards as the Man Without Fear picks up speed. Calmly he reaches out to fire the grapnel hook of his billy club out into the night and yanks his twisting frame through and crashes into a window.

Perfect.

From as far as he can tell through hearing and scent, he's still two floors below Bullseye.

Meanwhile, back in the building, the SWAT officers head in and Roosevelt holds up the warrant for the mucks to see. They look normal enough, in business suits and professional skirtsuits. It all looks very legal. They put up no resistance. The police comb upwards through all four of the side staircases and both of the elevators. Every option of escape is covered as Kingpin, from his seat in front of a wall full of monitors can feel the noose closing around his neck.

*

Lara's bow is drawn off her back, a specialized arrow with a grapple line attached to it is drawn from her quiver. She nocks it and draws it, firing towards the roof, where the hooks snap out and catch on some ductwork pipes. "They're destroying evidence. I need to go in the hard way," she tells the two men on the roof. "Get Bullseye, I'll try to make sure there's something for the police to convict this bastard with." She snaps off a quick text. "Hot like Rio" to Sara. Oh Rio, that was an adventure. It also means Lara is present, armed, and going in through a high window. She launches off the roof and swings across the expanse, firing three silences shots with a pistol at the window to weaken it just before she bursts through feet first, in the area the employees are burning documents. She rolls back to her feet and levels both guns. "I suggest you stop moving, immediately, or else I may have to stop being polite," she warns.

*

"Listen for de loud noises," Kwabena advises Daredevil. "He'll probably run de oddah way."

A running start is all Kwabena needs. He leaps over the edge of the building, already dark against the backdrop of the night sky given his skin tone and uniform. At the peak of his leap, he transforms into a cloud of smoke that soars across the distance, visible in flashes of red and blue from the lights shining below.

Moments before impact, the Ghanaian reforms. He's tucked into a ball, and goes smashing through a window one floor down from where Lara has made her entry. He hits the floor rolling, and scrambles to his feet between two of Kingpin's thugs. There's simply no warning. Each of them find their faces encountering the palm of Kwabena's hands, stretched out to either side in a violent thrust. Of course, it's not mere flesh and skin striking them, but the super-solidified material that is unique to Shift's hardened matter phase.

The poor suckers are dead before they go bashing through the wall on either side of that hallway, and Shift is moving on. Time to make some noise.

*

Sara reaches for her phone when it pings, glad for a distraction, only to smirk to herself when she reads it. "Well, at least it looks like we've got some backup," she murmurs to Paul, tucking the phone back in her pocket and going back to pacing, keeping an eye on the windows. She leans into the car, reaching blindly for a radio. "SWAT, this is Pezzini. You've got masks in there, entry through some windows."

*

"Or frontup in this case." Paul replies, leaning against the side of the car as he looks up at the building and the ones swinging into the windows. "Is that even a word? Or just 'assault team' I guess since they're going in first. We probably shouldn't tell SWAT they're the backup."

*

Kingpin seems rather calm as Tombraider smashes through the windows of his penthouse. He sits back as she makes her approach, and likewise, all of his men and women in the room stop what they're doing as Lara makes her entrance.

"Funny," Fisk says to her. "I was expecting someone else."

As he looks over at one of his assistants, he gives a slight wink.

*

Out on the street things are quiet. It's late enough that traffic is minimal and what has come has been cordoned off by police officers. They've covered their bases, right? It certainly seems that way.

Still.

What's that smell?

It smells like…

*

On Shift's floor, things are also quiet. He's got pretty much the clear run of things. He's in a floor completely devoted to looking like a fake office. There are computers and cubicles. There's stationary and printers and even those stress balls that are always so prevalent, but it's clear that no real work takes place on this entire floor.

The only thing here are the two thugs he's already killed, and the two thugs in front of him.

But one thug turns to another, "What in the hell is that smell?"

*

Bullseye can't help but giggle as he stalks towards Daredevil. "Just the two of us and a hundred of our pals, right DD?"

"I think about you a lot, Devil. In the dark. So many things can happen in the dark. Vile things. Terrible things. I'll be slow. Don't worry. I'll be slow and I'll enjoy it."

But Bullseye is too slow; Daredevil can sense him going for the gun before he even touches the metal. A white billy club smacks into Bullseye's thumb, breaking it and causing the murderer to scream. Within a split second Daredevil is on top of him and the two are fighting and parrying.

But something's wrong. That smell. It's gas.

On the fourth floor, an assistant presses a button.

KABOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!

Fire erupts on every floor and out on the streets in the area in the middle of the street. For those familiar with such things it looks like a gas explosion, and Fisk's building is now engulfed in flames.

Kingpin turns back to Tombraider and mocks a soft face, "I think, Miss, we'd all better get to safety. We wouldn't want to burn in here alive. Think of all these innocent people. I have a helicopter. We could all escape on it." He smiles at his offer.

*

Lara shifts her feet so she can turn 360 degrees and observe the whole area. She's in black BDUs and her motorcycle jacket over a hooded windbreaker, with dark tinted safety glasses over her eyes to stop things like, oh exploding glass, from wrecking her vision. It's not a costume or a mask, but it's something to semi-obscure her identity from things like security cameras. She faces Fisk and just as he notes his altered expectations, she opens her mouth to retort. Then the world explodes.

Croft is thrown off her feet, slamming into a desk with her shoulder, grunting as the heat of the explosion wafts around her. She gets back to her feet, eyes streaming from the smoke. "Everyone else, use the emergency stairs," she barks to the employees. "The police will escort you to safety. You're coming with me, Fisk." She coughs as she advances slowly on the Kingpin, keeping guns trained on him.

*

Boy, that felt good. Shift has to quickly remind himself that being dispassionate is typically the best way to get a job done effectively. Three short seconds pass, during which he takes stock of his surroundings. The frown deepens for a moment and his nose curls.

He knows that smell.

"Shi-!"

As the fire erupts around him, Shift dives to the floor and curls himself up into a ball. For a few moments, he's incapacitated, growling as he fights against his X-Gene's desire to turn him to smoke. He'd rather take the burns than deal with the consequences of what might happen otherwise.

*

"Yeah, well, it's tell the team or let them get sh-" BOOM. Sara lifts her right arm to shield herself from the force of the blast as that word suddenly comes out very differently. "Every damned time," she curses, scanning the top floor for signs of movement. "I swear to God, one of these days the city's going to shell out to replace every inch of pipe with something a little less explosive." The SWAT coordinators are a kicked anthill now, keeping track of their own men and women, which means…Well, there's no sense in waiting around now, right? "C'mon," Sara murmurs to Paul, shooting a look at her partner and jogging toward the building.

*

Paul wouldn't want them to get shot. Now if it were Murdock in the building, that would be another matter. He instinctively ducks down behind the car as the place explodes then carefully glances up a moment later. "That can't have been a coincidence. Diversion?" It's not really a question and he keeps an eye out for… anything as he follows Sara.

*

"I wouldn't go downstairs if I were you," Kingpin smiles at Lara. "I'm afraid, well if my monitors are to be believed, that the way down is blocked. I fear that the only escape for us on this floor is by my helicopter." He gives a shrug, putting out his cigarette as he gets to his feet. "If it's just the same to you, miss, I'd like to save my life right now. You're welcome to join me."

All around the room, the flames begin to lick and burn the furnishings. It won't be long until they choose or die from smoke inhalation.

"Faulty wiring. An unfortunate gas leak," Kingpin shakes his head. "A damn shame."

*

As the flames rip around the floor that Shift is on, the men try to make a break for the exit but the back draft caused by the opening of the door immediately engulfs them in flames. Their screams can be heard floors above, and floors below.

*

Out on the streets, there are flames on the sidewalks and at every entrance. SWAT team members are trapped, at least until the Firefighters get here. By that time it might be too late. There are 100 officers in that place, at least, and every single one of them is in danger of death.

Above, a helicopter makes its way towards the helipad on the top of the building

*

Amid the flames, Daredevil and Bullseye roll around, trading blows back and forth. Each time Bullseye tries to reach out for his gun, Daredevil yanks him back. Each time Daredevil reaches for his billyclub, Bullseye pulls him back.

*

There is an insistent tearing sensation in Lara's shoulder every time she moves it even a fraction. Dislocation most likely. Her left hand doesn't want to cooperate with keeping that gun up, and it lowers limply at her side. She paces slowly towards Fisk, weaving slightly, blood trickling from her ear and her nose from the detonation wave slamming into her. With teeth gritted in agony, she lowers her other gun just a moment to hit speed dial on the phone on her hip. It's just one word she barks to Sara. "Roof." Then the connection ends. It's plenty of time for the goons or Fisk to take action against her, however.

*

Shift's growling eventually grows into a scream. He can feel his skin burning, though the uniform offers some protection, he doesn't have much time. If he doesn't get out, the inevitable is going to happen. So, he pushes down on the floor, hoping to force a way through.

The backdraft graces him just as he falls through the ceiling and relatively out of harm's way. He lands with a heavy thump, leaving a dent in the floor. He climbs to his feet, looking up at the flames that would have engulfed him had he not broken through.

Coughing nearby catches his attention, and he darts over toward where a SWAT officer is hunkered down on the floor. "Come on," he breathes through the mask. "Dis way!" He grabs the officer by the shoulder and moves him toward the outer wall, away from the stairwells. That's what you're supposed to do in a fire, right?

*

Sara glances at her phone when it vibrates, grimacing. "Fisk is headed for the roof," she tells Paul, shooting a concerned look toward the flames. "And we've got whole teams of guys in there. Tell me you've got getting them out of there covered?" Not that she isn't already jogging toward the least-damaged area she can see, the Witchblade starting to climb over her body. "I can get up, but you of all people know there's not a whole hell of a lot I can do about fire." As the armor grows, extra barbs and grapples spike from her sides, fingertips clawed for climbing.

*

"I don't!" Paul shouts after Sara and stands there looking at the building. What the hell can he do about a hundred trapped cops? He's pretty sure he could fight a demon if it set the fire but the fire itself? Does he look like a mutant?

*

"I know you'd see it my way," Fisk says as he smiles towards Lara. As she gives him and his men and women the chance to attack her, he doesn't. That'd open himself up to the law, and that wouldn't be a smart move.

Trusting Bullseye, who trusted Gunroe, was a stupid move. That's all the NYPD is going to get.

Kingpin's thunderous steps lead the way to the Helipad and the chopper above it. He gives a nod to a woman with a laptop as he boards. She punches a few keys into the computer, logs it off, and closes it.

The Kingpin, so massive of a man, he takes up an entire row of the long chopper affixes himself with a seat belt as the flames flicker up over the sides of the building.

"I take it we're heading to the NYPD?" Fisk asks Lara with a smile. "I never did catch your name."

*

Shift is momentarily safe and brings the SWAT team member down with him. As the pair look around, this floor, too, is going to shit. It won't be long and they need some form of a plan and need it now.

*

"Sara!" the voice comes over the radio. It's Gary Immerman. "Sara, I just pulled the schematics of that building from the building inspector. There's are a pair of elevator shafts right in the middle of the building. They're encased in steel. If the officers can get to those, they should be able to get down so long as they don't fall!" It was Immerman, the man with the crush on Pezzini, who got the toxicology report to Pezzini when she was on suspension.

*

A guttural scream leaps from Daredvil's mouth as the glass shard is pierced right into his back. Bullseye gives it a twist and holds on for dear life. The problem is that the glass cuts him too. Eventually he must let go, but the damage is done as Daredevil begins to bleed out all over the floor.

The door is no option, it's covered in flames. So are the walls. Bullseye walks towards the edge of the building at the stand up windows and looks for a way down. He almost doesn't see the flicker of red. Almost.

He turns just in time to catch Daredevil mid tackle and the pair go crashing out into the night.

*

Lara trusts Sara Pezzini more than she trusts most people. She knows Pez will have her back. She trusts Matt to be able to do his thing against Bullseye. She has two good people here, who can make sure things go the right way, even if they go badly for her personally. She lets Fisk's men help her up to the roof and into the helicopter. "I didn't give you my name. And yes. NYPD, One police plaza," Lara verifies, seething. She knows he's going to get away with this. Part of her wants to put a bullet in his brain right here and now, but Rhys wouldn't want her in prison for him. "And I want something from you. I want an assurance that you will never, ever, send anyone after Rhys Bale's family. His payments to you are over, forever. Otherwise, I am more than willing to go to prison to assure you cannot hurt his sister or anyone else ever again." Her pistol presses against the back of the Kingpin's skull. She may be bluffing, she may not.

*

Shift looks to and fro, but all he sees are flames, smoke that is not his own, and impending destruction. Not to mention that he has no idea what's going on with any of the others, or the fact that this whole plan has gone to piss. "-Damnit!-"

The African turns to the SWAT officer under his guard. "You got a grappah line?"

"What?"

"A GRAPPAH LINE!" Damn accents.

The officer nods, finally understanding.

"Can you run?"

He nods again.

"Den GO!" Kwabena takes off running, with the SWAT officer behind him. "Go, go, go, GO!" he urges, hoping that the damn cop won't get spooked by moving through flames. So long as he keeps going, he'll live. Once at the outer way, Shift leaps up and spins about, putting his back to the wall.

The two come crashing through the outer wall of the building, followed swiftly by a burst of flame. The SWAT officer screams out loud as he falls, but the grapple line is fired at the wall, and he's safe. As for Shift, he hits the ground right amidst all of the police mayhem, and briefly transforms into a cloud of smoke upon impact. It only lasts a moment, before everyone outside will see him re-forming into the uniformed shape again, still masked up and breathing heavily. For a moment he stands utterly still, feeling entirely creeped out by having all those cops looking at him.

-Gulp-

*

"Seriously? You made it out of hell, but fire, that you can't handle? That is some shitty-ass wannabe gangster jewelry you've got there, Paul." Sara is so pleasant when she's stressed. She pulls out her phone, tossing it to Paul. "You're for the roof, then," she says. "That'll get Lara, she's up that way, but she was inside when this went off, so she may not be one hundred percent. I hear you, Immerman," she adds over the radio. More and more armor covers her, layered heavily. She's worn the Witchblade through explosions, but going into a burning building is…new. "If I don't make it out of here, you better be coming to get me later," she calls back to Paul, then ducks her head and barges inside.

*

No, Paul can't control fire, thankyouverymuch. "What the hell am I supposed to do on the roof?" he asks as the catches the phone. What the hell was Sara supposed to do for that matter? This whole thing is just a royal screw up. "Fine." he mutters and starts after Sara. "I'll play it by ear." Hopefully he can get up the stairways still.

*

"If I knew who Rhys Bale was, Miss, and I don't." Kingpin says with a smile, "Then you'd have my word."

The helicopter lifts off from the pad and begins to soar to the East. Each of Kingpin's assistants all fidget with their clothing, hoping that they'll arrive on the scene looking as best as possible.

Fisk too, straightens his tie while the helicopter makes its descent from the short trip.

*

Sara makes it into the lobby with the elevators and all in all it's pretty clear. If one were a pessimist and think that the Kingpin's men rigged this all up, it would almost look as though he gave the officers a way out through the elevator shaft. It's almost as if he wanted it to burn the building and keep the cops alive. If you were a pessimist, I mean.

As she looks up, several officers are already sliding down the thick electrical cords towards their way to freedom. It'll take a while, and several will need help, but it looks as though this is the best bet.

*

While the SWAT team is lucky to make it out alive, it seems like everything is for naught. The computers are clearly destroyed. The "accident" took care of them. The "accident" took care of everything. Lara's right, he's probably going to get away with everything. With no evidence and nothing linking Kingpin to Bale it won't be enough to make it stick. There's circumstantial evidence to the gills. Everything points that way, but they need something to stick.

THUD

Paul's just playing it by ear.

Bullseye, wrapped in some sort of nylon cord at the end of a billy club, lands right in front of Paul out on the street. "Get this fucking thing off of me!" he screams. "I'll kill you, I'll fucking kill you!"

His eyes aren't on Paul though, they're upwards, focused on a flag pole a mere two stories up. Some drops of blood fall onto Paul's shoe. Up there, hanging by one arm is Daredevil. He gives a solemn nod to Manning.

He'd told them they'd get Kingpin.

The evidence they have links Bale to Gunroe. Links Gunroe to Bullseye. Links Bullseye to Kingpin.

Without saying anything, Daredevil pulls himself up on the flagpole, winces slightly and leaps using the other half of his billy club to get him away from the flaming building.

*

The gun is lowered and the safety clicked back on as Fisk agrees. Lara slumps back into the copter seat and pulls her phone out again. She brings up Sara's phone and texts: "Chopper. Fisk. 1PP." One Police Plaza. She's going to need a doctor. Things inside feel a bit broken in the vicinity of her left shoulder. And maybe her head.

*

For a few very log seconds he waits. He waits for the guns to be drawn, for the bullets to come, for the cops to demand that he get down and submit. But that never happens. Shift turns back to face the building and draws a deep breath. He's not one to run away from a fight, but as he looks upward, he's not sure that sticking around any longer is much of a good idea. If he goes back in, he's either dead, or he'll transform into plasma. Which means everyone else dies. It's a lose lose situation.

Until Daredevil's Christmas package drops down from above.

Shift darts his head toward the dangling figure of Bullseye. He remembers the words spoken earlier. Then, the grisly frown turns into a knowing smirk, and he crouches down low to the ground.

"Keep it real, fuckahs." That ones for the cops. A beat later, Shift is nothing more than a cloud of smoke, soaring into the night sky.

*

Sara is heavily armored as she goes into the building, but that doesn't mean she doesn't feel the heat. The Witchblade offers some protection, but it isn't meant to stand up to heat so much as weapons. And there is a lot of heat in a burning building. "Let's go!" she calls, rounding up the members of the SWAT team as she moves through the building, offering a shoulder to those too injured to make it easily on their own. Paul can say what he will about the Witchblade and tentacles, but those tendrils are just right for lowering pairs of officers down into the safety of the shaft. She'll figure out how she's going to get out of here without blowing her cover once they're all safe. The convenience factor doesn't go unnoticed. In the back of her mind, the thought that the shaft could be trapped as well nags at her. But what other option is there? Die by fire, or take their chances. All the same, she'll stay near the lip of the shaft for as long as she can to help any stragglers.

*

Paul stops as as strung up sausage suddenly dangles in front of him. And then there's SHift turning into smoke. And Sara's phone buzzes with Lara's text, letting him know he doesn't need to get to the roof after all. And there's Daredevil swinging off. He looks at the building on fire and the flickering flames on the street before turning back to Bullseye. "You're under arrest. You have the right to shut the fuck up because I will testify at your trial about everything you say. You have the right to an attorney. If you can't afford Murdock, there's plenty of underpaid civil servants around. Got it? Good." Let the asshole hang there till someone can get around to him.

*

One of the officers sees the following all happen in succession. There's Shift appearing, turning to gas, reappearing. Bullseye drops from the sky, and a Bleeding Daredevil nods and leaps away. Seriously wtf.

As Shift bolts, he can't do anything other than wave. He may not see another night like this in his life.

*

It takes Sara a while, but with Shift's help, all 103 SWAT members-a conglomerate of all of the precincts in the city-make it out. Some have to spend time in the hospital for smoke inhalation, while others received burns in the explosion, yet everyone makes it out and lives to tell about it. Convenient? Perhaps.

*

A grip of officers are out to meet the Kingpin as he exits the helicopter. Even before they move to cuff him, the Kingpin holds his arms out. It's almost as if he's dictating all of this.

"Before I speak with anyone, I'd like to discuss these matters with my lawyer."

Kingpin looks like a cool, calm, cucumber mother fucker until one of the officers lets it slip. "Hey, they just busted Bullseye too. Looks like you're up shit creek, Fisk."

Another rookie starts to laugh, "Oh man, you are /fucked/."

And for the first time in quite some time, Wilson' Fisk's demeanor cracks just a bit.

EPILOGUE

"How's the melon?" Matt asks into the telephone the next day. He chuckles and shakes his head sort of aghast. "That was singular, Lara. The shoulder?"

"Well then, we're in for celebration. Your place?"

"Well, if we're both in working order. I'll have a new scar to show you."

"I'll pick up Chinese. I'll be there as soon as I'm done here."

He hangs up the phone and leans back in the chair. It stings a bit on his back but he doesn't care.

Karen Page interrupts, "Matt, there's a Lester Poindexter on the phone."

Foggy laughs, "Tell him we only represent innocent people."

Karen shrugs her shoulders and closes the door.

"Read it again, Foggy."

Nelson sighs and starts it again, "Wilson Fisk, alleged to be the Kingpin mastermind of organized crime in New York City is behind bars after being charged in orchestrating the murder of Rhys Bale…"

*

Kingpin's lawyer sits down on the other end of the phone. The hulking man looks as though he might bust the stool beneath him, and the look on his face is enough to show his true demeanor.

"Who's the prosecuting attorney?" Fisk asks.

"Probably Walters."

He gives an inward sigh and looks to be out of options. Walters can't be bought. "How's my hand?"

"You're hand?" the slick attorney responds. "The Hand is just fine."

*

That night, down in the depths of the underbelly, an old man by the name of Stick is minding his own business, collecting cans. Blind, he hears them. "Who are you?" Men in red robes draw their swords.

That night, men in red make their way towards the St. Patrick's Cathedral looking for Father John.

That night, men in red make their way towards the apartment of Foggy Nelson.

That night men come to the home of Matt Murdock but there is no one there.

THE AXE, FINALE

THE END

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