A Devil in Gramercy Park

March 18, 2018:

Daredevil pays Danny Rand a visit on his own turf, and then both stop by Trish Walker's to visit a laid-up Jessica Jones

Gramercy Park

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Frenzy

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Danny has spent too much time as Daniel Rand, CEO lately. He's eaten too many danishes and stared at too many pages worth of spreadsheets for his liking. To his credit, he hasn't complained about it. He did, after all, say he wanted the company back. This is what it means to run a company.

That doesn't mean that Danny doesn't deserve a break. In this case, the break involves leaving his posh house and leaving his expensive phone plugged into the wall while he takes a damned walk. He's wearing a puffy winter jacket and has his hands stuffed in the pockets. He's wearing earbuds that filters loud early hip hop into his ears at a volume that can't be good for him. The thrumming basslines and rapid-fire lyrics are as calming to him as whalesong. He weaves around people in a kind of moving meditation.

*

The days are getting longer, but winter has kept its chokehold on the city well into mid-March. Despite the extra sunlight, the chill sees most people heading home, or at least indoors, in these dusky after-work hours. The sidewalks, especially in the posh uptown neighborhood that the billionaire navigates, are only moderately peopled. All told, it should make it all too easy to flag down one Danny Rand and draw him into the quick, quiet conversation the moment calls for.

But the one thing the Devil of Hell's Kitchen did not consider were those goddamn earphones. Who the hell listens to music that loudly? thinks a man who can hear the hip-hop emanating from those two earbuds half a block away. So much for a quiet, "Psst."

Instead, he'll allow Danny to walk past said alleyway and then, from his half-hidden vantage there in the shadows of the alley, flick a quick pebble that whistles through the air while it arcs for the back of of the blonde man's head.

*

Danny can stand the cold more than a typical New Yorker. K'un L'un wasn't exactly tropical. That…and his jacket is probably six hundred bucks, easily. He's completely zoned out. Normally he's more aware of his surroundings, but he's not expecting any kind of trouble in his posh, populated neighbourhood.

He does feel that pebble. He turns around and rubs at the back of his head, then looks up at an overhang with snow and icicles. He apparently decides that was a bit of ice rather than a pebble, because he shrugs and then turns to start walking again.

*

Oh, for God's sake.

An oblivious Danny Rand is allowed to continue his meandering for one and a half more blocks, enough time for someone witnessing the strange scene to think that Daredevil had thought better of flagging the man down, or just given up and returned to his seedier streets. But then the red-clad man is suddenly leaping into Rand's line of sight from a window ledge two stories above, winded but with a determined set to his jaw.

That's right, he scaled that building, parkoured over several rooftops to make an end-run around Rand's stroll, and then, when he was fairly certain there were a minimum number of eyes on both of them, leapt back down. That's commitment.

"Got a sec?" he says, mouth turned towards Rand so that the young CEO can hopefully at least read his lips.

*

Danny may be ignoring pebbles, but he won't ignore someone leaping into his line of sight. He immediately sets back into a defensive posture pointed towards Matt, the fist that can glow so strangely poised and ready to strike. But he relaxes after a moment, then reaches up to yank the earbuds out. "Oh. Hey man. What's up?" He digs into the pocket of his jacket to pull out the old iPod to stop the slick flow of the Notorius BIG.

*

Matt was expecting that flicker of alarm, the drop into combat stance, and perhaps even the… well, whatever is happening with this kid's right hand — a change on the molecular level that Daredevil doesn't need a pair of eyes to see. He puts up the palms of both hands in a staying motion to suggest he's no threat, and then when Danny relaxes, he lifts his chin in greeting.

"Hey, wanted to grab your ear on something," he says. A beat, a smirk. "If it's still in good working order. But let's, uh, get the devil suits and magic fists out of the middle of the sidewalk for the good of the order." He jerks his finger towards a shadowed corner on the quiet, residential lane.

*

Danny wraps the earbuds around the iPod and tucks it back into his pocket. "Uh, sure. Things okay? I mean…" he starts towards the quiet lane. "…I sort of assume something is up all the time now. But everyone seems pretty good at handling the weird and crazy." Then, "You can always text me, too, y'know. It must be kinda risky to come over to this part of town where everything is so well-lit." He really didn't mean that in a bad way.

*

"I should just get over being seen," Daredevil says sardonically as the two of them make for what passes for a quiet and unobtrusive spot in the most densely populated island in the world. "It's a force of habit, but this city has enough people like me to where it shouldn't even cause a scene, right?"

Eventually he finds himself with his back leaned against a brick wall, arms folded across his chest. There's an internal stocktaking before he answers Danny's question: "Mostly OK, for now. Did you see the papers, though? That bugle story about Jessica's street fight."

*

"Normally I'd say, yeah, but some people are paying attention to me too just because of my position." Meaning, it's not just that Matt might get seen - but who he might get seen with. Danny doesn't seem overly concerned at the moment, whether that's optimism or whether he's relatively sure he hasn't been followed is an open question.

He ducks his head and shakes it sheepishly. "No, I didn't. But I feel like I haven't read anything that wasn't a quarterly report or a brief in weeks."

*

Daredevil gets it more than most, guarded and secretive as he is, and gets it enough that a grimace tugs briefly at the corners of his lips. Daniel Rand has a life as much as Matt Murdock does, and superheroes and superpowers could just as easily complicate the former as it could the latter. "Yeah, I'm working on a place where our, uh, circle of friends can meet without worrying about that," the masked vigilante says with a roll of one broad shoulder.

"Well, Jess was called out on the streetby a meta — someone who said she was part of the Brotherhood of Mutants," he says, adding quickly: "They're the group that blew up the Stark Expo and have been generally stirring shit around the Tri-City area. Her attacker was — strong. Stronger than Jess. Hell, stronger than Luke, from the sound of it." He dispenses with the play-by-play. Putting the attacker's strength in context should be enough to convey that Jessica lost this particular match. "After it was over, she told Jess that she did it to 'send a message' to her friends."

*

"You know I'll help you out, right? With money or paperwork, or a place," says Danny. He offers that as if it were completely a given - not as if it was something he's just now offering. "I'm not doing you guys much good on the street level right now, but I still want to help."

He listens to what Matt has to say with a frown. He's going to get his assistant to show him how to set up one of those alert-things with their names from now on. He missed that and he doesn't like that he did. "Is she okay? Does she need…?" he holds up his mystical hand to indicate his healing ability. Then, after he finishes the story, his face screws up. "What does…Fisk have to do with this Brotherhood? They don't sound like they'd be the kind to be on the same side. So is this a two-front thing now?"

*

Daniel Rand is definitely the member of the small anti-Fisk cadre that Daredevil knows least well. Jessica is a close friend, Kinsey is Kinsey. And during the course of their tangles with Fisk's criminal empire and IGH he learned more about Luke Cage than either he or Luke are probably comfortable with. But Rand has remained an enigma.

This is a good person, he realizes of the younger man, and it's a realization subtly reflected in the slight smile that he allows to play out. "I've got a handle on the money — but thank you," the superhero says with sincerity.

When he holds up his fist there's a flicker of confusion. "But — wait. Are you offering to punch something for Jess?" For all his training by stick, Matt is ignorant of most of the Chaste's ways, much less the mysteries of Kun'lun. For all the Devil of Hell's Kitchen knows, Rand's fist is just a wrecking ball.

*

"If you're sure," says Danny. "Luke kept saying he was okay too. I had to practically shove money in his pocke-…that didn't come out right." He frowns. Yeah, that conjures up images of a seedy place and a pole.

He slow blinks at Matt, then shakes his head. "Oh, no. No, I can heal. Like how I got the poison out of her that night in the hospital. Fixing a few sprains and bones shouldn't make me pass out. The drugs were a different thing. I hadn't tried that before."

*

"Right, that thing you did underground," Daredevil says with sudden, vivid remembrance. "I didn't realize that whatever that was worked on — uh. Broken bones and bruises." But why not, right? It's magic — who knows what strange rules what Danny or Zatanna can do are bound by.

There's a moment of consideration, the weighing of respect for Jessica's privacy and convalescence weighed against the fact that he knows she hates feeling vulnerable and beaten down — and this might help. He nods once, solidly. "Yeah, she's in rough shape. If you can help, we should just do it. I can give her a head's up that we're coming."

A beat. "Assuming you've got time to spare."

*

Danny nods earnestly. "I only discovered I can do it a couple of months ago. I was always taught to meditate and concentrate on my injuries to speed healing. Since I became the Iron Fist, it's…worked better." Which is kind of a dull way to explain magical healing, but no one has ever accused him of having a way with words.

"Just…make sure it's okay? I mean, we really don't know each other all that well, and I understand that letting someone use an ability like that on them requires some trust." Never mind that he's done it before. That was clearly a life-or-death situation and there wasn't much to lose.

*

While Danny talks, Matt is already dipping into the belt of his new outfit and pulling out a small flip burner phone. He doesn't even seem to be looking at it as he types in his message and clicks 'send.' Instead, he keeps his masked features fixed on Danny Rand as the younger man explains his powers.

"My sensei taught me to meditate to speed my own healing," Daredevil offers after a beat of silence. "But — another's? I didn't even know that the mind could do that."

Another beat. "What's an iron fist? Aside from the obvious."

*

Danny smiles a little bit. "You had a sensei. I thought you must have. You move with discipline and in styles I recognize. Except the boxing. No one ever taught me boxing. I can see how that would be useful." A boxing Iron Fist does have the potential to be rather devastating.

He draws in a breath. It used to be that he'd launch into his life story at the faintest provocation. But he's been better at discretion since it's become necessary. He looks at Matt's masked face, then down at the phone, then up again. "The Immortal Iron Fist is the protector of the mystical city of K'un L'un. It's a title that has been held by many warriors going back thousands of years. I earned the mark of the Iron Fist by fighting the dragon, Shou-Lau the Undying." He says this all self-seriously. If he was capable of it, it would be easy to think he's just pulling Matt's leg.

*

"Uh, yeah," Daredevil says, a touch self-consciously. His training was haphazard, aborted. Whatever his natural aptitude and ability, what he does every night is every bit the product of improvisation and trial by error as it is the knowledge that Stick gave him once upon a time. It's certainly not at the level of refinement and artistry a true master of the martial arts would exhibit. "The, uh, boxing I picked up from my dad."

The rest, the cliff notes version of Danny's odyssey, should draw an incredulous snort. But after more than a year of super-heroing, Matt has finally earned to stop balking. "You beat a dragon?" he asks, seeming impressed. "Luke and I should have brought you on our trip to rescue Jess last month. You would have come in handy. But we made do."

His flip-phone buzzes, and he puts it to his hear. It looks like he's answering a call, but after a moment he closes it without so much as an answer or a goodbye. "We're all good with Jess," he says simply. "She's at her sister's place on the Upper Eastside — not too far from here."

*

"Maybe we can learn from each other," says Danny. The earnestness is always kind of there with him, but in certain moments, it's amplified and he positively radiates it. He means that, completely. He wants to teach and to be taught. "I hope you know you can call me if you need me. I might seem busy with Rand, but the company is rarely life and death. I want to help."

As for the dragon? He nods. "I gained my power by plunging my fist into an urn that contains the dragon's heart. At the time, the way from K'un L'un was closed. That's why I wasn't able to return home until recently." He nods once at the flip phone exchange. "Lead the way."

*

Trish's Purple Fortress of Solitude isn't much worse for wear for having Jessica here. And with a few days of rest under her belt she sort of limps over to unlock the sliding glass doors, assuming they're going to Ninja Land there. But if they decide to use the front doors, she's flopped down in the living room so she can catch the intercom if necessary.

True to her word about her head, by whichever method they enter they'll find her blessedly showered from the last time Matt found her. Recently so, in fact, with her hair wet; she's pulled on black shorts and a Rolling Stones tank top to receive them. She's also literally got a package of frozen sweet peas held to her face. And she's pretty much laid out on the couch with those on her face. She wasn't kidding about how bad her head is killing her, and just because she's gotten word that Danny and Matt are coming to put an end to that does not mean that she can stand to keep her head un-iced even for a moment.

Signs point directly to her getting into the really good painkillers too. Signs including physiological ones and the pill bottle of oxy prescribed, not to her, but to Melinda May, on the coffee table.

*

They go the ninja route. Daredevil can't exactly afford to stroll the few blocks from Danny's neighborhood, and Danny can't exactly afford to be seen with him. So parkouring it is, courtesy of the new baton-and-grappling-hook that Jane Foster built for him. Lucky Danny gets to go along for the ride.

Matt lands first, squarely and elegantly on the balcony, before he slides open that glass door. He offers Jess a brief, slight smile while he takes stock of the scene. "You seem better," he says — sincerely but not without a note of qualification. He can tell, smell, hear when someone is on opiates, and the recognition that Jessica is brings with it a host of complications he's not going to give voice to right now.

First thing's first, after all. "He's right behind me."

*

It's pretty easy to underestimate Danny, and to forget how skilled he actually is. To be fair, he doesn't exactly inspire confidence in others with his clueless earnestness. But his skill is on display as he lands on the balcony almost soundlessly, which is a bit more impressive considering he's wearing chunky Blundstones. He had the presence of mind to put his hood up and pull a scarf up around his face. Wintertime is good for ninja-ing without looking like a ninja.

He enters, and unlike Matt who notes details of Jessica's health, his grand observation is, "Whoah. Purple."

*

And completely oblivious to the complcations she may be causing one Matt Murdock, almost as oblivious as Danny Rand with his Powers of Observations Switched up to Eleven (is he talking about the apartment? Or Jessica?), Jessica says, "A little, but I still won't turn down the help."

And she is, a little, because all the breaks are now fractures and all the fractures are whole. Everything else is still bruised and inflamed. "Thanks for coming guys," she says, in tones that indicate the same embarrassment she feels whenever she needs help. "I— I mean it wasn't too far out of your way or…" She just leaves it. These are stupid things to say.

And then, with even more embarrassment, as she puts the peas aside, "So uh. Last time I was out cold. Do I need to…I dunno. Do anything for you to do this, Danny? Say ohmm or…" Look, she doesn't know. On the spectrum between awkward and grouchy, both things she's feeling, she's deciding to let the awkward reign because she likes them.

*

"We were in the neighborhood, if you can believe it," Daredevil offers when Jessica asks whether they went too far out of their way. He strides in and plants his back against the wall opposite Jess, folding his arms in a familiar pose.

After all, there isn't much for him to do here aside from watch Rand work his literal magic. That, of course, he'll do with unapologetic curiosity. There is in Danny Rand and his great glowing fist a sense of what's possible on the path Matt Murdock has chosen to walk, and he'd be a fool to turn a, ah, blind eye to it.

He'll still smirk when Jessica offers to hum a mantra, a world of affection and commiseration contained in that curled corner of his lip.

*

"I live in the neighbourhood," adds Danny. Then he turns to Jessica and nods. "Hey. Uh, no. Just relax?" He walks further in, stops, then pries off his boots. Hey, this is a nice place and they're covered in sidewalk salt and gravel from the rooftops they parkoured on to get here. He shrugs off his puffy winter coat as well.

"The Devil tells me that you got into a big fight. I missed that in the news. I'm sorry. If I knew…" he starts rolling up his sleeves. "Well, I just hope you guys know you can call on me even if I seem like I'm busy." Then, gently, "Just sit down?" He looks around for a chair to tug over so that he can sit as well.

*

"Oh good," she says, as Matt notes he was already here and Danny just lives here, a fact she hadn't registered because she's so used to being in Hell's Kitchen. She forgets she's in Manhattan until he mentions that, and she shakes her head. "My brains are freaking scrambled eggs," she mutters. The detective settles back down onto the couch, though she doesn't lie down. She just sits. Told all she has to do is relax, she does, and told she could have called says apologetically, "I didn't think about it," to Danny. "Don't take it personally, I mostly don't." Think about it, that is. She would have just laid there for as long as it took for everything to knit together normally, and she grimaces. "And you sure don't have to apologize for that."

Now she's more embarrassed than ever, her temperature rising as she flushes. She snags a pillow almost like a shield, dropping her chin atop it.

*

"It was an ambush, Rand," the Devil of Hell's Kitchen says from his gargoyle-lean there against an absent Trish Walker's bookshelf. "There was nothing you could have done." What he doesn't say is that all this terrible damage was inflicted on Jessica in less than four minutes, and that it had taken him a full six to leap across buildings to get to her. By then, it was too late for him.

Don't take it personally, I mostly don't. Matt's features are schooled towards neutrality most times; a defensive posture. Honest-to-God smiles are a rarity absent the company of close friends, but so is the anger he so often masks with Matt Murdock's affable exterior. Here? His lips curl into a rare sneer. He is taking what was done to Jessica very personally indeed at the moment.

*

Danny's ability to heal is directly connected to how sure of himself he feels. Given that he's attempted and succeeded with healing more complex injuries than Jessica is currently sporting, he's got that confidence. Of course, it's also connected to how good he feels about healing - which in this case is pretty solid. It should be okay.

Should.

He seats himself on the coffee table facing Jessica. "I meant in general," says Danny as he starts to focus. "I want you to know you can call me." He clenches his fist and closes his eyes. Rivulets of energy snake along his veins as they start to glow in advance of his fist igniting. Normally in a fight, he ignites the fist quickly and then strikes. But this is a more slow gathering. It must look very strange to Matt's unique senses.

When his fist is glowing bright enough to illuminate the purple room, he slowly unfolds the clenched fist, extending his fingers. The bright golden glow remains, and he reaches out to set the hand against Jessica's head.

The pulse of power is immediately recognizable. There is a pleasant warmth to it and his touch pulses with energy. He takes a deep breath and then reaches out with that energy, coaxing it from his hand towards the worst of her injuries, focusing on any concussion-related damage and inflammation.

*

Jessica is catching some of those notes from Matt this time, where she'd missed them in her woozy state when he'd picked her up. Point of fact she'd been see-sawing between seeing about five Devils and seeing nothing but white spots and nauseating rainbows at the time, and had been doing good to carry on the conversation he offered her by way of distraction. It had prevented great tragedies, like losing her lunch over the skies of New York City as he ninja'd them across.

He tells Rand there's nothing he could have done, and she suddenly starts to realize he very likely, given what she knows of Matt, thinks he maybe should have. She can see that anger, and she says, "Pretty much nothing anybody could have done," by way of agreement.

But then, there's this fascinating golden glow process going on, very different from the punchy fist process, and Jessica finds herself watching that instead, full of the curiosity that marks her almost as much as her perhaps somewhat routinely crappy luck. And when the pain goes away entirely (and the oxy, as it happens, flowing out of her system with the rest), she lets out a sigh of relief.

The sudden cessation of pain is one of the best sensations in all the world, and she says, "Jesus. That's fantastic. Thanks Danny, I owe you one." She experimentally flexes her fists and rolls her head from side to side. "Jesus, why didn't I call you right away?"

On this count, her Chronic Inability to Seek Help might have just nudged itself closer to sanity, at least on the matter of seeking healing aid. She hadn't called Zatanna either, concerned she might have been doing something pretty important (she often is), not wanting to waste anyone's time, but…as bad as she was feeling? Stacked next to as good as she is now feeling?

Yeah.

*

When Jessica obliquely assures him that there's nothing he could have done to prevent her beat down, Daredevil dips his chin and juts his jaw. The varied sins of Matt Murdock are not so easily absolved; he guards them jealously. But he still accepts the gesture of those words, and their generous intent, for what it is.

He's distracted from his wrestling with self-recrimination by what Danny does next. Behind the mask, invisible to others, eyebrows lift up. He can't see the light, but he can feel the warmth, the gentle shifts in the air caused by those pulses of energy. And he can feel what that energy does, measuring the tension and pain and inflammation leave Jessica Jones from across the spacious, lushly furnished room.

Gratitude floods him. This was a damn good idea, and one he may be exercising in the future. Though there's a sour counterpoint: Would I be able to do that for others, if Stick hadn't left? Matt wonders briefly, longingly. A Daredevil who could ease pain as well as inflict it. It sounds nice.

But all he says is a raspy: "Thanks, Rand."

*

It's actually something of a blessing in this situation that Danny has mostly been fighting in the board room. His chi is fully charged and centered and he hasn't used the fist to fight in several weeks. That means healing Jessica doesn't tap him out like burning the OD of drugs out of her system did after he had used his power to punch the door in. Still, it's no walk in the park. Once he's taken care of the worst of it, the golden glow fades and he drops his hand and slumps. He looks a little tired, but none the worse for wear. "Glad you're feeling better. I think you probably had a bad concussion. No wonder you couldn't move around a lot." He smiles warmly despite his somewhat spent state.

"I'm going to uh…find the washroom. Don't worry, I'm fine. I've just had to pee for like, a half an hour." He gets up, then goes to find where the purple bathroom is.

*

Danny makes his awkward exit, and Jessica sort of…points him in the right direction. She picks up the peas, and hesitates. Does one put peas back in the freezer after affixing them to one's face? Or does one toss them in the trash? She opts for the latter, crossing to the kitchen as she adds, "Holy shit, it really is like I was never hurt. Thanks for thinking of that," she says.

She sounds considerably cheered, and she probably is, not even able to hold on to the awkward embarrassment in the face of being able to get up, move around, get back to work. In point of fact she'd had multiple concussions, and the results of those had definitely been bothering her more than even the rest of it.

And she's either not aware that her attempt at reassuring Matt fell on deaf ears or smart enough not to try to push it, because she lets that sit.

*

Just like that, she's better. He can tell it took some doing from Rand; in his own singular way he can sense the strength that passed from him to her, and what it cost him. That seems right, though. Matter nor energy are neither created nor destroyed, just transferred — a universe in balance.

"It was Danny who thought of it," Daredevil says with a shrug, a slight and grudging smile. "I'd gone looking to enlist him in taking on that mutant, but he did one better." A beat before he adds: "He's a — good guy."

He can tell, too, that the drugs are out of her system. That fills him with more relief than her miraculous recovery, in a way. The idea that she could backslide from all she's accomplished the last few year — because he couldn't make it in time to save her from punishment? That would have been too much to bear.

*

"Yeah, he is," Jessica says, with the same notes of fondness and melancholy she used before. This time she adds the reason for the latter, noting, "My baby brother would have been his age."

Speaking of that oxy, she goes to get the pill bottle, pulling up her phone like she's going to just throw the thing back in there. There can't be more than four pills sliding around in the plastic, either because there weren't that many to begin with or because she worked her way right through trying to manage the pain. She does this without a hint of guilt and self-consciousness. "Anyway, now I don't have to sit out when we go after her, which makes me feel a little better."

She starts picking up a few more signs of her passing. She can be a jerk, but she is not so big of one that she'll commandeer Trish's apartment without doing the dishes she generated while hanging out here.

*

Daredevil puffs out a breath when she speaks of Danny as being her brother's age, had he survived the car accident that claimed her family. He hasn't forgotten that through-line of loss that marks her, any more than he could forget the one that does him. And with his eager, puppy-dog aspect, the idea of him as Jessica Jones' little brother just seems right.

"Hey," he says before she throws the pill bottle back into the wormhole, cracking one of Matt Murdock's easy half-smiles — turning on the charm like a lightswitch. "Would you spare a few of those for a guy who takes beatings like yours on the regular?"

*

"Oh, sure," Jessica says, holding out the bottle. "There's only four left. They're pretty heavy hitting even for me, two put me right down for a nap so you should probably only take one at a time."

It's a deft move. Jessica, who doesn't think of this pill bottle as any danger to her at all…she thinks of the monkey on her back as being alcohol, and had legitimately been using these to manage pain, holds them out to him without a second thought. And even though the demonstration of a far better health plan has just ensconced himself in Trish's bathroom, she also just finds it reasonably. He can't rely on Rand or Zee being available every time, any more than she can. And with her healing factor? He needs them more than she does.

"Three months before they expire," she adds helpfully. She's seen him run fingers over ink before, but she's not sure whether a computer-printed prescription label is going to have enough definition for him to pick up on, especially through gloved fingers.

*

The ease with which she relinquishes the pills gives Matt a little bit of solace, and makes him wonder whether he wasn't wildly overreacting. But he'll take them anyway — not to use, save in extremis. He believes he should hurt for the things he does at night, and so outside of horse-pill versions of over-the-counter meds he declines to medically mitigate. He'll keep them for either a truly dark day — or a time when someone else could use it. But he's glad he has them.

He smiles as his grip closes over the bottle. "Thanks a lot," he says when she offers him the expiration date, before he adds: "Now you really do look better." There's a beat. "I — ah. I'm gonna go. I have to take the rooftops, but Rand can take the elevator dressed as he is." You know, like a normal person.

"See you around the Kitchen."

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