Street Fight

January 01, 2018:

On New Year's Day, Danny Rand stumbles upon a Midtown burglary — and Daredevil taking out his failure to bring in Wilson Fisk on the burglars.

Hell's Kitchen, New York


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Wilson Fisk

Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

Even thugs take holidays. Which is a good thing because Danny Rand spent the week leading up to Christmas being dragged around to fancy parties by Joy Meachum. He was so tightly scheduled that he had to stop chasing down a few leads about his company's dirty laundry. Given the totally unexpected cutoff work he did with an entire subsidiary of Rand (without checking with Joy) to try and choke off Dartmouth Pharmecuticals, he had some apology partying to do.

In truth though, Danny has appreciated the distraction. His first Christmas back in New York without his parents has been far more difficult than he's let on to anyone he's met in casual conversation. But he has been drinking more of the drinks offered to him and even had to be poured into a company car a few nights. It's a good thing he's a friendly and actually somewhat charming drunk.

But now the holidays are over. There's little to fill Danny's evenings, so he's started to pick up those leads he dropped. One of which was an Import/Export subsidiary of Rand that Danny thinks might be involved in importing substandard prescription medication to sell on the street. He's been staked out on a fire escape for the last forty five minutes. He's learned that it's a bad idea to do this without a mask, but he hasn't exactly commissioned a suit of body armor yet. So instead, he's wearing a pair of black snowboard pants, high top black sneakers with wool socks, and a puffy down green jacket with a yellow chevron. He's wearing a black balaclava. To make it a little friendlier and more 'I'm frigging cold' and not 'I'm a robber,' he's wearing a knit hat with a pom pom on top.

There's been zero movement at the Import/Export business. Not a single soul has come by except a few people scurrying elsewhere. "Maybe even criminals are all hungover today," he murmurs to himself.

One street over, there is a bit of a commotion. Three thugs are taking advantage of the quiet evening to break into a pawn shop. Their work is quiet for the moment and they haven't drawn the attention of the Iron Fistsicle up on the fire escape a street over.

It's a fact that New Year's Day is one of the few holidays which actually manages to slow down Midtown Manhattan, as the whole of the city seemingly recovers from a collective hangover. Between the raucous festivities of the night before and the bitter cold of this particular night, there are few people out and about — and that goes even for police officers.

Enter some enterprising burglars. "Come on, come on!" a tall, lanky lookout in a black ski-mask impatiently urges the man crouched at the alley-window as he uses a crow-bar to pry open the window-guards. Fortunately for them, his voice — and their work — are too quiet to catch the attention of Daniel Rand. Unfortunately, Daniel Rand is not the only vigilante stalking the streets of Midtown tonight.

The Devil of Hell's Kitchen has been, even more than usual, a cauldron of seething rage in the weeks since the oversized enigma that is Wilson Fisk slipped through their fingers by virtue of political connections and a few well-placed peanuts in the prison rations of the hyper-allergic witness who could have put him away. Ever since Coulson broke the news to him, Daredevil has been working with a furious, aimless urgency at the Sisyphean task of cleaning up his neighborhood. Patrols nearly every night, to the point where most criminals who know better are laying low and taking a little holiday of their own.

Some, apparently, did not get the memo. "That's some way to ring in the New Year, gentlemen," rasps a voice that seems to come, improbably, from somewhere above the gang of three — though it's hard to make out the speaker in the shadows.

It's not his usual M.O., this taunting. But he's spoiling for a fight, and proves it with a leap downward onto the lookout, combat boots first.

It's about then that Danny gives up on his stakeout. He's starting to lose feeling in his toes and fingers anyway. He stands and stretches out a kink in his back, then shimmies down the fire escape. He lands gracefully after dropping the last few feet, then starts up the street - coincidentally towards the scene of the soon-to-be crime. He too is filled with a sort of nervous energy. For him, it's the hunger for a distraction rather than frustration. That was too much time with just his thoughts and memories.

He rounds the corner looking like a well-bundled pedestrian just in time to hear Daredevil's taunt from above. He stops and looks up, and squints. Then he looks over to who the taunting man is talking to. He's not the quickest on the uptake and he's still learning to patrol the urban landscape so he hasn't quite figured out what he's walked into.

"Oh, shit!" cries the man with the crowbar as his friend is tackled from above by a — shadow, seemingly. These criminals may have been out of the loop about Daredevil's current crack-down on the streets of Hell's Kitchen, but the masked vigilante has made enough of an impression on the city's underworld that they surely recognize him now. The lookout is prone (for now), groaning and squirming and clutching his collar-bone on the sidewalk pavement. But both of his compatriots are collecting their wits — and their weapons. The aforementioned crowbar in the meaty hand of the man at the window, and a pistol in the hand of a compatriot further down the sidestreet.

Daredevil, meanwhile, has rolled into a momentary crouch beside the fallen would-be-burglar. It's a temporary pose. The only way to survive against three assailants — especially when one of them has a gun — is to keep moving, and with purpose. He's got to close the distance with the shooter while avoiding the crowbar that's already singing way.

It may not be the fight that Danny was looking for, but it's a fight nonetheless. He pauses before he's obviously within the sight of any of the thugs or the vigilante in black, then does his own taking stock of the situation. Then he digs his hands into his pockets and pretends to just be walking briskly past the scene as a bystander in layers. Then, at the last moment, he veers quickly towards crowbar man, attempting to use the element of surprise to disarm the man with a strategic strike to his forearm. He hasn't realized that the guy that Daredevil is going after has a gun. That would have changed his mental math a bit.

It's not the first moment since his return from Wakanda that Daredevil has wished for the old suit that ran afoul of country's hyper-advanced and supremely lethal technology. It may not have withstood claws from a laser panther, but it was a big asset when facing the various armed criminals of Hell's Kitchen, with their knives and their clubs and their perfectly ordinary bullets. As it is, he simply has to put that growing reputation as a 'man without fear' to the test. He launches not forward but angled slightly askew, sticking to where he can sense — somehow — the shadows lie, his fast and weaving movements leaving the terrified gunman firing one, two, three near misses in his general direction — and fairly well ensuring that this is no longer a quiet fight. Heads peek out of the windows above to survey below, braving the cold. Inside the apartments, he can hear a dozen people dialing 9-1-1.

Not that the police will be much help in the immediate. Or, Daredevil would say if asked, that they are even needed, much less desired. A simple wooden stick — an escrima stick, for those watching closely — spins out of Daredevil's hands and strikes the hand of the gunman before he can fire off another round. He curses, firing off a wild shot before bringing both hands down to guard his smarting fingers. It's all the time the masked vigilante needs to close the distance with a spinning kick that catches him square in the face, sending him reeling. Got to stay on him, keep the momentum," Daredevil thinks to himself. Even stunned and wounded, the man still has control of the weapon — and with it, an upper hand.

Meanwhile, while the sudden entry of a bystandard into the fray — and the skillful execution of a strike to the forearm — catches the crow-bar wielding robber by surprise and sends him cursing and stumbling back, the man Daredevil sucker-kicked is proving resilient, climbing back up to his feet and rounding on Danny with a knife in-hand. Two on one against the Iron Fist of Kun-Lun.

One of those wayward bullets whizzes a little too close to Danny for comfort. His eyes widen and he looks down the alleyway. After the strike lands successfully, he angles the fight out of a direct line with the shooter. He's still learning how to fight with guns in play, but it's just common sense to try and make it harder for them to shoot you.

If anyone were to witness what's happening, it would look very much like some guy got dropped off a ski lift somewhere and started doing kung fu. Knives and crowbars are weapons he can handle. He spots the glint in the hand of the second attacker and guards appropriately, moving quickly. The getup may be kind of goofy, but it's actually meant to be athletic while wearing it. It means his range of motion isn't greatly hindered and it's vented so he's not overheating.

It isn't, however, bulletproof or even good against snags. So when Danny's a tiny bit slower than he should be, the knife bites into the down jacket and sends out a puff of feathers. He snaps out a foot, aiming for the same spot that Daredevil hit. He can read bodies well enough to know what side the thug is favoring. It's a sharp enough snap that it could concievably break a rib.

Meanwhile, Daredevil gives the gunman little time to recover. He tries to raise his arms with the gun in both hands to get off a shot, but the masked man ducks and crouches low, delivering a series of blows to the man's gut that send him reeling.

To an informed observer? Classic silat.

That's enough to set him off balance and allow the vigilante to go for the gun directly — before he can fire off any more stray shots that could hit a bystander or onlooker. For this, he rises and retreats around to the man's back, grabbing his wrist and twisting it inward far enough to force the gun to clatter to the ground and then kneeing the man in the back. A chokehold brings him down within seconds, gasping for air, and Daredevil finishes him off with a strike square between his shoulder blaes.

That would be Kali. And one man down for the count. Matt kicks the gun away and rushes towards his unexpected ally —

Wait, is that Danny Rand?

Who ELSE would take on thugs looking like a lost Australian snowboard instructor? There's also a blonde curl that's made its way out of the balaclava in all the fighting. That friendly knit hat is on the ground, now covered in a good layer of Hell's Kitchen. Danny has managed to inflict a good deal of pain on knife wielding thug. His own style is incredibly fluid and economical, with precision strikes. His is a pure style, with none of Daredevil's powerful boxing-inspired touches.

There's a moment, when knife thug is tackled onto the ground, that he can take in the whole scene. He catches the chokehold-and-strike maneuver and calls out, "Nice!" like he's a spectator at a hockey game. "Uh, hey. Police are probably coming, huh?" If there was any doubt as to his identity, the voice should give him away.

"Thanks," Daredevil says as he collects his breath. No superhuman is he — even fights with a few thugs are enough to wind him. The praise is appreciated, even if he doesn't show it visibly beyond that brief acceptance of it. Outside of his sparring matches with the Winter Soldier, it's rare that there's ever an opportunity for someone to compliment him on his form. "Nice work yourself."

To Danny's suggestion that the police will be here soon the vigilante cants his head, like a cat hearing a far-off sound. "Yeah, they'll be here soon," Daredevil says, hearing the sound of speeding sirens some twenty blocks away. "Let's not be here when they are. The rank and file appreciate this work, but by the books they have to take us in too." He gestures towards the fire escape some six feet up above them.

It's an invitation.

"Yeah, um, let's not…let's not get taken in." That would be bad. Because then Danny would have to explain why the CEO of a multinational is running around kicking the crap out of robbers. He might be able to get off saying he was just a good samaritan, but then he'd have to explain how he knows how to fight. He looks up at the fire escape, nods, then executes a rather nimble scramble up the ladder.

He lands neatly up on the rooftop, then looks around. "A little bit more distance?" Now he can hear the sirens with his totally ordinary ears. Unless Daredevil protests, he starts to lead him back the way he came, towards the rooftop where he was staked out earlier. At least he knows it's out of the wind. "Happy New Year by the way!"

Daredevil's ascent is predictably smooth; he's made his modest-but-growing reputation out of scaling rooftops and death-defying swings and leaps. And most of the weekend's snow and icy rime has abated by now, even if the metal railing itself is bone-chilling to the touch. "Sure," he says to Danny's suggestion of distance when they get to the top, ready to follow in whichever direction he leaves. To the billionaire's seasonal greeting prompts a surprised parting of the lips, and then a slight and rueful smile from the masked man. Is this guy for real? But still, he offers a,"Yeah, you too," to the man he hasn't seen since that furtive meeting in Harlem where they plotted their assault on Wilson Fisk's perverse R&D operation.

"How've you been, Rand?" he finds himself asking, as odd as it sometimes still feels to make small-talk in this persona, wearing this mask.

And here's Danny, not used to wearing a mask at all. In fact, once he's quite sure they're not within sight of anyone, he tugs off the balaclava despite the chill. He takes in a long breath as the cold air hits his sweat-dappled face. "Eating too much cheese," he says as he pats his stomach. It puffs enough that it shoots a couple of feathers out of the hole in his down jacket. "You?"

He looks back in the direction of their little skirmish, but all he can see is the police lights skipping off the buildings. "That and dealing with the fallout of the money cutoff. I had to uh, explain things to a lot of people. As much as I could, anyway. I had to pretend it was, um…" he struggles to remember the term. "Forensic accounting!" How anyone could believe he found wrongdoing by looking at pages of numbers hasn't been paying attention. But it proved to be the most logical explanation, and people like logical explanations.

The so-called Devil of Hell's Kitchen nods faintly when Rand tells him about the predictable fallout from his assault on Fisk's operation within Rand Enterprises. CEO or not, there was bound to be blow-back from jettisoning an entire (and highly profitable) division of one's own company. "I'm sure there were enough gaps in their books to convince them that's how you came to the conclusion," says a brawler who, ostensibly, has no business knowing about corporate books.

"As for cheese, street fights'll work off those calories fast," Daredevil quips. He's sanguine as Rand rips off his mask; there's little enough chance that someone will see them up here, unless the police decide to bring a helicopter — but chances are they won't, and they'd hear its approach well before it got in range. Truth be told, he doesn't know what to make of Danny Rand. He doesn't seem to be a vigilante in the Daredevil or Bat-family mold, but then there's…

"Who taught you how to fight like that?" he asks.

The one card Danny has to play in his company is the idea that he's trying to bring Rand back to the moral centre he believes was there when his father was CEO. Whether or not that was actually true is immaterial. People believed it to be true, and Danny believes it. With the help of Joy, it's been packaged as 'righting the ship', not 'stirring things up and messing with our bottom line.' But barely. The media's curiosity about Danny has brought positive attention to the company. But it's also brought scrutiny. It's a difficult line to walk for all involved.

He mops hair back from his face and grins a little sheepishly. "That's a long story. And, no offense, not a story I'm gonna get into with a dude who won't show me his face." He says that good-naturedly rather than as an accusation.

Shocker. Danny's ACTUALLY learning to not go around telling everyone he's the goddamned Immortal Iron Fist.

"None taken," answers Daredevil with a lift of his black-gloved hand and a shake of his masked head. He asked because Danny seemed less protective about who he was and what he could do than those an acquaintance of his calls the 'capes and tights' crowd, a class he finds himself squarely in the middle of. And, of course, the vigilante certainly doesn't seem inclined to remove his own mask in reply. It's too early for any sharing of secrets save where strictly necessary.

"Anyway," the man in black says with a lift of his chin that, however subtle, still manages to signals respect and regard. "Thanks for the assist. And not just back there." After all, Danny's gambit nailed the coffin shut on IGH and its laboratories of horror, even if the research company's benefactor and chief executive has so-far escaped accountability for it.

And then, with a step backwards, towards the ledge: "See you around, Rand."

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