Shifting Sands

April 30, 2018:

Daredevil's life just keeps getting better and better. When the impostor Devil known as Ikari attacks Trish Walker, a chance comment reveals his identity to one Foggy Nelson.

Hell's Kitchen, New York

Ain't nobody seen nothin', ain't nobody heard nothin', but they sure don't like bullies round these parts.

Characters

NPCs: Ikari, emitted by Kingpin.

Mentions: Azalea Kingston, Wilson Fisk, Jessica Jones

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Trish has been having what the kids today call a day. The drycleaners ruined her favorite cashmere sweater, her guest on the show had been more interested in talking about Trish's past exploits than the start up company she had been invited on to promote. The hideous woman had even tried to get her to sing the ridiculous theme song to It's Patsy, and now the tune was running on an incessant loop through her head. Because a headache is always the best cherry topper on a bad day.

Feeling lonely, and irritable, Trish decides to take the MTA over Jess's neighborhood to hide out at Alias Investigations for a while. Unfortunately, a bad combination of perfumes, body odor, and a screaming baby have caused her to flee the bus at a stop close to Sal's. Fresh air and a bit of a walk might just be the best thing for Trish at the moment, because headaches make it a lot harder to avoid little slips in public that could give away her secret.

The time of day had totally escaped her, otherwise she would have found a way to suffer through the rest of the bus ride. Hells Kitchen is not the best neighborhood for Trish to be out and about without any kind of backup, and certainly not after dark. As evidenced by the encounter she had with a group of thugs that Daredevil had saved her from, over a year ago now.

She pulls her coat a little closer around herself, tucks her purse closer into her body, and tries to keep her head down. With a little luck, she'll make it to Jessica's without incident.

When she was in DC, she was safe.

It was even part of an explicit bargain made between Azalea Kingston and Wilson Fisk. He merely wanted her out of his affairs. She took his deal, unknowingly, but she took it. Thus, she was where he wanted her, and not to be touched. To be, indeed, pampered in the hopes that success would ruin her as an enemy. Many would have found out who funded her new life and would have quietly turned a blind eye. It is a testament to Trish Walker's character that she resisted this temptation. She'd had it, but she'd resisted it in the end.

But this all brings her back, not just to New York City, but to Hell's Kitchen itself. And though Trish is barely aware of the bargain, it implies an end to it. The white flag of truce rolled up and away, the black flag of war flying high.

Furthermore, she is not just an adversary of Wilson Fisk's.

She is a woman who Daredevil once saved. And the only one who is not either in protective custody, or well known to be a bit too hard a target for a man who does not, in fact, have any superpowers.

What he has is training. He is a shadow on the balconies above.

What he has is guile.

He is dressed exactly as the Devil of Hell's Kitchen used to dress. Black cargo pants, combat boots, gloves, black long-sleeved muscle shirt that turns him into the Man with the Shoulders, and the sock on his head. He is of a height and a weight with the Devil of Hell's Kitchen, and if the stubble he sports on his hard chin is black, and not red, well…it's awfully hard to tell one color from another in the dark.

He drops directly in front of Trish, two scrima sticks out. "Miss Walker," he says, soft-spoken and professional. Is it Daredevil's voice? She's only heard it a few times…how well does memory serve, when most mask-wearing male capes seem to adopt the Growl that Growls in the Night?

Trish walks along, trying not to hurry to each pool of light from the street lights over head, completely unaware of being stalked by both Fisk, and this new player on the board. She's muttering the song under her breath, freestyling a bit on the lyrics in her frustration with the day.

"It's Patsy, it's Patsy, I really want to be your friend. It's Patsy, it's Patsy, I hope this day will fucking end…"

That is, until the pseudo Devil drops down in front of her.

Trish lets out a yelp and stumbles back with her hand pressed to her chest. Her other hand has dropped down to her purse to fumble for pepper spray, or her stun gun, or anything she can use as a weapon really. But then she takes another look and makes a very, very big mistake.

"Jesus H. Rhoosevelt Christ! What's the matter with you? Are you trying to make me pee my pants? Oh, my god, is Jessica in trouble?"

Turns out a year away can fuzz a lot of memories, because Trish does not realize that this man is not the Devil she knows. In all fairness though, it's not really her fault, since all masked crusaders feel the need to growl the growl of pure masculinity.

This Devil laughs softly at her question. It's cold. Genuinely amused, but cold as the grave.

"Jessica's not in trouble. Not to my knowledge, anyway. It seems to me that you could more easily count the days she's not in trouble. Does it not seem so to you?"

He steps closer. Right into her personal space. His lips curve up into a slight smile. "You, on the other hand…"

And that's when he moves.

He's fast. Not super human fast, but peak human fast. One baton lashes out from his left hand, snapping forward to try to take her in the solar plexus, good and hard. In his right, the blur of the stick slamming down towards her neck, right to where her collarbone and neck meet.

Did she keep up with all that Krav Maga, when she went to DC? Cause now she is facing perhaps an even bigger field test of those skills than those bikers would ever have been.

"Hey! What the fuck, man!" The voice comes from behind the Devil of Hell's Kitchen, and belongs to none other than Foggy Nelson. He's had a long day, tie loose at his neck, Springtime trench coat open to reveal his nondescript suit beneath. His hair has been slicked back by his hands so many times it now stays there with just a single lock of blond crossing his brow.

Having finally abandoned the backlog still on his desk, he had been heading off to grab a bite of dinner; he was going to eat, call Kinsley, and considering finally putting in a missing person's report on Matt. Moping about that, he had been coming around the corner just in time to see the so-called Devil launch toward Trish Walker and his voice carries instinctively.

He stands there, paces from the corner, his messenger bag, crossed along his body, gripped tightly in both hands and his jaw set; his green eyes hold a flash of outrage mixed with courage overriding fear.

Trish kept up with her Krav Maga. She also continued to work on her Telekinesis as much as she could, when she knew she was alone. Those facts, combined with her never quite relaxing all the way, even though she thought she knew who she was talking to, are probably the only reason she's not lying on the ground at this asshole's feet.

Trish jerks herself backwards and to the left, while dragging her purse around her front to try and absorb as much of the impact from the left stick as possible. Because in true celebrity, or maybe just Trish fashion, it's basically a hand held suitcase with one of those drop-in purse organizers. She also lashes out with every ounce of force she can muster with her mind at the second stick coming at her neck.

"Urk!" is all that comes out of her mouth as her head gives a particularly viscious throb.

Great, Trish! Your last word is going to be Urk. Excellent, runs through her mind. She is so sure she is about to die, she doesn't even realize Foggy Nelson has arrived on the scene.

Most of the women this man comes after do not put up much of a fight at all. There is an almost impressed cock of his head as she blocks the strike with her purse, as his right hand scrima stick goes bouncing down the street. "Interesting," he observes.

And then, sudden Foggy Nelson.

He half turns his head in profile, like some sort of great obsidian feline, and he laughs aloud. "What a charming little butterball," he observes.

And then he moves again. This time it's a spin-back kick, a foot lashing out to try to catch Foggy in the gut, hard, to send him into some trash cans. "Sit down and shut up," he advises the lawyer. "Perhaps you'll be my bonus victim tonight. It seems Patsy here is more of a threat than I gave her credit for. I wouldn't count on her to save you though."

"Gobble, gobble," Foggy replies at the whole butterball bit. He unslings his bag quickly, but gets caught up on his shoulder, and leaves himself wide-opened to get kicked into the trashcans with a resound thud.

He shakes his head slightly, stars dancing around his eyes. "Shit, I thought that was metamorphic," he says under his breath as he pulls himself upright. He has managed to get his bag unslung, and he advances before swinging out the bag in some vain attempt to slam all his notepads, law book, and iPad with force into the Devil's shoulder.

Trish grunts a little as she absorbs the blow she took through her purse. While it hadn't completely knocked the breath out of her or broken any bones, it had still connected enough to notice. The hand not holding on to her purse flies up to hold the top of her head and her left eye closes as she fights a wave of nausea.
"Hurlp," she gasps out, part retch, part sad attempt at clearing her throat for a better battle cry than 'Urk'.

As much as she appreciates a moment to try and collect her shit, it's at Foggy's expense, whose presence has finally been noticed. She pushes a few loose strands of hair out of her face, shaking her whole body like a dog flinging off water, to clear the after effects of the brain cramp. Feeling confident she'll be able to shout without a stunning display of digestive pyrotechnics, she finally manages to get her hand held taser out of her bad, and brandishes it at the masked man.

"HEY ASSHOLE! I'm over here! Let's keep this dance just you and me. You want some, come get some!"

And with that jaunty taunt, she settles into a ready stance, avoiding the desire to bounce on the balls of her feet, cockily curling her fingers up towards herself in what is unmistakably a 'come here' motion.

When she looks back at this, whether from the safety of her home or from an Angel's cloud in heaven, she's going to facepalm. Hard. And wonder what the hell she was thinking.

Foggy Nelson has always been a man who has proven one does not need a mask, kick-ass training, super powers or a funny name to be heroic.

He may also as of right now be a man who is proving that one might need at least some of those to be effectively heroic. Because as they both get serious, he begins exercising the dangerous, fluid grace while dealing with multiple opponents that has made Daredevil the force of terror he has become to any criminal who tries to operate in the Kitchen.

Foggy comes for him with what must be the only real life rendition of Phoenix Wright's OBJECTION! move in Marvel vs. Capcom, and his shoulder is just not there to be taken by various legal textbooks. Instead, he twists, and catches Foggy by the arm; sending him sailing and back down to the ground with a hard throw.

Alert, controlled, he pivots as Trish brings out the taser. A hard axe kick slams down into her knuckles, the sheer force of it enough to send the thing out of her hands. He hop-steps and kicks it away. It slides somewhere out into the night: going after it, at this point, may be all but impossible. But he doesn't stop there. He moves right on through to a high side-kick to Trish's face, one that's hard enough to send her slamming into the opposite wall.

"Never you fear, Patsy, darling. I can dance with multiple partners."

Foggy wasn't entirely confident in his bag-as-a-weapon technique, but when the Devil chucks him like a sack of potatoes, he slams into the ground with a low groan. He releases his bag, leaving it on the ground as he slowly starts to roll, trying to get himself back up onto his feet.

He shakes his head, clearing it from the small buzzing growing in his ears. He squints up at Trish just as she's disarmed by her taser. He's uneasy on his feet, staggering in his loafers that abruptly feel tight and uncomfortable despite being almost perfect like three minutes ago. "Fuck, what the hell has you all pissed off," he almost slurs.

Trish thinks she is ready. Trish thinks she can take on the world single handedly, especially now that she has powers. The difference between theory and practical application are worlds apart, much to her dismay. A lesson driven home sharply by the kick that sends her taser skittering off, beyond her recovery. A lesson further reinforced by the kick that has her seeing stars and hanging on to the wall she had just been intimately aquainted with.

A wash of red that has nothing to do with the blow to the head and everything to do with an irrational rage at continually being called Patsy. Whomever this is, it most definitely is not the Daredevil that saved her life all those months ago. He never called her Patsy, always Trish. A few other details are finally starting click in, giving away the fact that he is not who he is pretending to be, like calling Jessica by her first name. And then there is the whole trying to kill two people thing, which is a bit of a giveaway.

"Foggy! No, leave him alone! Who the fuck are you? Get away from us! And DON'T CALL ME PATSY!"

She started out shouting, hopefully in an attempt to get someone, anyone, to call the cops at the very least. The last sentence, however, comes out in full on Shrill Walker Shriek.

Trish is so angry, she even lashes out with her mind on the adrenaline rush. She can feel it's not as strong as the first one though, much to her dismay.

The impostor is staggered backwards by the sudden shove with telekinesis. That she can do things is painfully obvious. It's something for Trish to think about, if she lives, the way her secret so effortlessly has fallen into the hands of some enemy.

It does at least send his other scrima stick flying, bouncing across the street. He disarms her, she disarms him. A fair trade.

Or it would be, if his hands and feet weren't such weapons in their own right.

A tick. He cracks his neck, just turning it to the side once until it pops.

Then? He apparently decides he is done acting the cat, done toying with his prey. The perfect arrangement of stick-beaten bodies has already been spoiled. Foggy Nelson already fails to fit the pattern. If some drunk sees 'Daredevil' tearing two civilians apart so much the better, but he suspects this is a wash as far as destroying the reputation of the man in red further goes.

He could, with those realizations, simply choose to leave. He has nothing more to accomplish.

Except.

Tearing them apart for the fun of it.

Twist. Foggy valiantly gets back to his feet. The leg sweep that takes him right back down is a set-up for the roundhouse snap kick that will slam brutally into his left kidney as he falls. Then he twists again, driving a hard punch into Trish's solar plexus. He seizes her wrist, almost as if they were dancing, and twists her around until he's got her locked into a brutal chokehold. With the air out of her lungs from the first blow the second will prove all but impossible to defend against with any real strength; he seems more than ready for any of her struggles.

Banter done, he moves with brutal efficiency. Creepily, he turns his head right towards Foggy as he starts the process of ending Trish Walker's life. The mask that covers the top half of his face is eyeless, making him seem more monster than man, but it's almost as if he's making sure that Foggy is seeing this.

Seeing that he's failed to help anyone at all.

Seeing that he's next.

It's a blur. The sweeping leg sends him staggering, and the sharp kick to his kidneys drops him to his hands and knees. He manages not to end up flat on the ground again despite the blossom of pain flooding his vision. His hindbrain is screaming that it is time to run, but he just… can't seem to convince himself to follow that instinct.

He slowly pushes back onto his knees, straightening up to look back at the Devil. The straight stare makes his damn soul shiver, but that bud of stupid courage blossoms in his chest. He pulls himself unsteadily to his feet, planting his heels. "Dude, I'm a kid from Hell's Kitchen." His voice is a bit breathless, but he's advancing forward a step as his fists come up, balled up — he even has his thumbs set properly. "And I fucking hate bullies."

Trish has spent her whole life hearing about how one's life flashes before one's eyes in a near death experience. She's pretty sure she's as near death as she has ever been, excluding that one time she almost got shot by a sniper that is, and her life isn't flashing before her eyes. She's not scared, well okay she is a little scared, but not petrified with fear scared. Trish is mad.

This is not how this was supposed to go. She is supposed to be able to take on the whole world and win, now that she is Powered too. She is supposed to be able to defend herself from attack with all the time she has spent training in Krav Maga. She is most definitely not supposed to be taken out this easily. Because in her mind, she's been taken down disgustingly easily.

The press is going to have a field day with this, she thinks as her vision starts to grey around the edges. A very bad sign that she's running out of time. All she can do now is try and get as much evidence as she can to help with the investigation.

Clinging to that thought, she runs one hand up her assailant's arm, in what might appear to be a lover's carress. It's actally an attempt to gain access to his skin. She digs her flawless, $80, almond tipped gel manicure into flesh and drags back with all her fading might. Her other hand flies back to try and gouge at the masked man's face. Her feet scrabble at the ground and that too is starting to fade.

I hate bullies, Foggy says, about to make his stand and take on a vastly superior opponent who is currently in the middle of murdering one Trish Walker.

"That makes two of us," comes the raspy voice from the alleyway — the very kind Trish quietly bemoaned earlier — as out of the shadows steps…

Another Daredevil. Not that they're twins, mind you. Even in the darkness, you can tell this newcomer not in the Amazon-Prime combat gear of old that FauxDevil sports, but the upgrade the vigilante adopted months ago and that was plastered across the front page of the Daily Bugle: sleek, red leather and horned helm, crimson-tinted lenses that shine with reflected streetlight.

There's no call from the new Daredevil to his counterpart to let Trish go, or to surrender. This Daredevil is clearly not interested in a peaceful resolution. So says his glower, the grit to his teeth, and the red metal rods clenched in each hand are raised upward as he sprints towards his opponent. He is ready to shed blood, and he shows it in the way his batons go whirling towards the head and elbow of his opponent when he closes the distance.

Choking the life out of someone while she claws at your face is not a great position from which to defend against a new contender. Daredevil's baton catches Ikari on the elbow; there's a loud crack that indicates he might well have fractured it. He pivots to get out of the way of the one for his head, flinging Trish away and in to his new opponent.

Ironically, it gives Foggy, with his own special Hell's Kitchen son-of-a-butcher moxie, a shot if he wants one. A dangerous shot to take, but the dude is wide open.

Ikari says nothing, now he's got a problem, a big one, and he's got to focus, to concentrate, if he's going to deal with it.
Foggy seems to register in the back of his brain that there's another Daredevil there, but he's too busy taking the opening to actually worry himself about it. He has a staggering punch — staggering for him that is. In all fairness, it's been a while since he needed to actually sock someone.

He lands the hit with a sure collision of knuckles to the hard point of muscle and bone that makes up the budget Daredevil's shoulder. The momentum behind the hit — and boy, is there momentum — causes him to continue to follow the path of inertia, stumbling a bit before he pulls himself upright and turns to deliver another strike if he is able, trying to weaken the side of the first Daredevil's body that is holding the tightest to Trish.

That's when it dawns on him that there's a second Devil in their midst, and he snaps a look up toward him through a blade of blond hair, green eyes widening.

Trish doesn't hear the real Daredevil's pronouncement of his mutual dislike of bullies over the pounding in her head. She does however, hear the impact of baton on elbow, and feels herself being flung through the air. Again. She would try to be some sort of help, but all she can do is limply collide with Daredevil and flop to the ground, while she desperately tries to drag air back into her lungs.

She weakly waves up at the fresh man with one hand as she tries to keep her face off the sidewalk with her other one.

"I'm okay, I'm okay, help Foggy,"she rasps through her abused throat.

And with that, she very daintily crawls a couple inches out of the way, and retches into the gutter. Turns out the choking, head shot, and telekinesis, on top of an already blooming headache is just a bit too much for Trish.

"On it," Daredevil murmurs to Trish when she urges him to help an embattled Foggy Nelson. "Get back!" he tells the lawyer right before he leaps in to press his advantage. This — Ikari — is on his heels? Good, it's a first, and it only gives Daredevil cause to redouble his efforts and keep the man on his heels.

Daredevil has been waiting for a proper rematch with this imposter since their aborted bout over the lifeless body of a woman he'd known since high school, played out a dozen permutations and scenarios in his mind. There was only a little about the man's habit, training, and behavior he could glean from their short match — but he uses what he can. Batons still in hand, he launches into a spinning kick meant to catch the masked-man's jaw.

Foggy's punches land true, and Ikari hisses something in his native language.

But there's no time to retaliate on the lawyer. No time to turn his attention to the weakened and vulnerable Trish.

Daredevil's foot comes spinning his way.

At this point he's a bit battered and disadvantaged, but the speed and grace the man demonstrated earlier is there. He sidesteps with a hard block towards Matt's foot, with his good arm, a round kick is delivered mostly to try to keep the masked man at bay, and then a hard sidekick for his solar plexus. He knows the armor is a problem, but at this point he's just trying to defend himself, moreso than trying to hurt Daredevil. The objectives have changed, and this is about gaining some space and distance.

Probably for another escape. Or another nasty trick out of his bag of tricks.

Either way, a rematch is what Matt is going to get…at least for the time being.

The shout to get back doesn't quite click as Nelson seems ready to pursue a greater foe — like a moron. He is ready to lunge forward, try for another punch in Edward Norton Fight Club style. In fact, much of Nelson's style just screams instinct rather than training — he just sometimes has lousy instinct. He goes for a kidney as the faux Devil is fighting the real.

Landed or not, Foggy veers to the side, now leaving the two to battle it out while he skids through some alleyway debris to get to Trish's side. "Trish, fuck… you alright?" He breathes those words hoarsely, trying to help her up while also keeping an eye on the two Devils.

Trish swipes at her mouth with the back of her hand and gives her head a slow shake in a futile attempt to clear the cartoon stars she can feel circling just out of sight. Nausea rolls through her in waves as she tries to stand up, so she gives up, and stays on hands and knees to retrieve the battered purse she had lost in the scuffle. Her taser is a right off, but she still has her pepper spray, not that she expects it to be any kind of useful. It's better than being empty handed, so she wants it.

Shaking hands reach for the bag as she sways on her knees. The hard cement digging helps her to focus a little. If she managed to draw the asshole's blood, she needs to do her best to preserve it. So she very carefully pulls out the pair of soft leather gloves she had been meaning to take out of her bag for a couple of weeks and puts them on. Some sort of plastic baggie would be best, however, those are one of the few things she doesn't have in her bag.

A now gloved hand reaches into the bag and she hugs the pepper spray to her chest, resolving to look into a concealed carry permit again. This is not an experience she is anxious to repeat, finding herself needing a gun and not having one. Well, maybe not needing, but definitely wanting.

She blinks up at Foggy with glassy eyes as she tries to process the words. "Huh? Um, yeah, yeah, I'm okay I think. Nothing a little rest won't cure." She winces at the hoarse quality of her voice. So she clears her throat and winces again at the sharp pain.

She takes the help up, since it's the only way she's going to get vertical any time soon, and presses her free hand to her neck. "Thanks. And thanks for helping. Most people would run the other way, not that I particularly blame them. This guy is insane. Are you okay?"

Daredevil's skin-thin armor is shockingly powerful, but that kick to his solar plexus from Ikari inevitably sends him back a few paces. The difference is that it isn't for long — a blow that would normally see him doubled over and wheezing and clutching his torso only gives him pause before he looks to close that scant distance his opponent has managed to introduce. It was a lesson from their last encounter, when the masked-man was able to use that distance to throw down his little bomb of noxious fumes.

Not this time, Daredevil quietly vows: he must be fast, aggressive, relentless. And so he is. Batons soar through the air, striking low, striking high, while a kick strong enough to knock down a door aims for Ikari's chest.

He can hear Trish and Foggy's exchange only in the background, does his best to tune it out. After a brutal week, with his spirit and confidence in himself in tatters, he knows that the fact that two people's lives are riding on him — Jessica' Jones sister, and his own best friend — won't do him any favors. It will only slow him down.

Ikari is driven back. Back. And back again. Some of those blows land. He grunts as he takes them, if he gets free he's going to be feeling it in the morning, for sure. He moves to minimize them where he can't block or dodge; twisting to turn a blow that might hit something vital, allowing it to hit arms or legs, flinging his body back so he might turn full-on blows to glancing blows.

For the killer known as Ikari, this scenario is untenable in the extreme. But there is always a moment. Always a moment. On the defensive beneath the furious flurries of the true Devil of Hell's Kitchen, he nevertheless manages to slip a few objects into his hand. Their metallic glint catches on a streetlight overhead, the scent of them carries to the Devil's nose.

Most people who carry shurikan around are idiot posers who get them from replica catalogues or flea market knife shows because they look cool. Flimsy, dull, and made of stainless steel, they would threaten nobody.

These are the real deal. Bo shurikan, which don't even resemble stars. Just small, razor-sharp darts, coated with tetrodotoxin, from the pufferfish. Hardly deadly, either from the sharpness or the low dose of the poison itself, but hardly anything anyone would want sticking into any part of their bodies, either. And employed to the most common purpose they ever would have been employed for…hitting the exposed parts of someone's body. In this case, they are thrown straight at the lower half of Daredevil's face right when he's coming in close.

Hey! Foggy knows all about cartoon stars. The Roger Rabbit Effect is strong tonight. He squats down low near Trish, looking down over her as she manages to get up to her knees. He grabs at her elbow, preparing to help her get to her feet. But then she's got her pepper spray out, and he grins almost wryly — grinning even while he's hurting, the Foggy Way.

"Yeee-ah, a little rest. Sure, Trisha." He kept his hand on her shoulder, and his green eyes cut back to the mess between the two Daredevils. He narrows his eyes at the real Devil, and something nags him… it's like a small itch on the back of his brain. He misses Trish's question entirely, blinking back to her after a lag. "Oh, um. Huh. I'm peachy."

Trish wants to pull out her phone and dial 911, but in her limited experience with these matters, police will only get in the way. She also wants to call Jess, or text, or send up a smoke signal at this point, but she knows that will only cause her sister to blow her cover, and Trish just cannot risk that. So she stands on the sidewalk watching two Devils fight it out, holding pepper spray in one hand, and Foggy's arm in the other.

The tone in Foggy's voice tells her she is fooling no one with her statement of being fine. But then, neither is he. She chooses to let it go though, because people who live in glass houses really shouldn't throw stones.

"Peachy, riiiiggghhht." She drawls the word like Dr. Evil, but quietly, practically a whisper, in an attempt to minimize distractions to Devil trying to save them.

She wants to say more, something pithy, or clever. The fight going on distracts her, and she can't help but find herself admiring their technique.

The man-in-black nearly pulled a similar trick from his sleeve in his last encounter with Daredevil, summoning a smoke bomb at just the right time and — perhaps unwittingly — sending all the delicate senses of Hell's Kitchen's ostensible hero out of whack. And it was easy enough to do, with the vigilante reeling from the inexplicable murder of a woman he shared a strange but potent bond with by a man dressed to look like him.

Fool me once, Daredevil thinks as he catches those bo shuriken in that strange map of the world of his. To him it's all a matter of perception, awareness, and training, but to the outside eye of Foggy, Trish, or even his assailant, the man-in-red's reflexes must suggest something like precognition. He is arcing himself backward to avoid those flying darts even before they whistle through the air, with a preternatural sense of their exact trajectory.

Still, the move forces him to fall backwards, and worse, to drop his batons while doing it so that he can land his palms on the ground and flip backwards and up again. That gives Ikari time to make a break for it, or to regain the momentum.

His choice.

To Ikari's mind, it's still kind of three against one right now.

He's got injuries sustained from the fact that he bit off more than he could chew. This? Was an escape maneuver, nothing more. He produces a grappling gun, nothing at all as fancy as what other masked people carry about, but it gets the job done. He fires it into the air and is up and away in a heartbeat. Daredevil can hear his retreating feet and heartbeat, but he's swiftly reaching places where other heartbeats, other footsteps, will drown him out.

When Ikari decides to disappear, he does so in the grand tradition of the arts he has studied. Swiftly and without much fanfare, retreating without shame to the express aim of living to fight another day.

Foggy can't help the broad smile that spreads across his mouth at the reference — dim as it is. His head turns, keeping a close hold on Trish's elbow while he catches the whirl of movement of those bladed bo shuriken, and he is calling out a wordless warning a half-second too late, the reflexes of the two faster than his own. He starts to get to his feet when the Daredevil hit the ground, missing his backward flip as he steadies himself upright.

The sound of the grappling gun going off and the sight of the other Daredevil retreating looses some of the closely controlled fear within him. His voice is a bit shrill when he retorts, "You better run." So. Lame.

Trish misses Foggy's grin because her eyes are rivited on the masked men. She can't help the gasp that escapes her lips or the unsteady step she takes forward at Ikari's, though she doesn't know his name yet, use of the throwing stars and his departure. Just the one though, because her other leg wants to buckle in protest of the sudden movement. She had let go of Foggy and grabs the wall instead to steady herself.

"Sorry, still a little shaky I guess. Son of a bitch, he's fast. Hey, Daredevil, are you alright? That asshole hits hard."

Trish is hit right then with the realization that she had openly used her powers and the man who had tried to kill her has just left with that information. Her secret is officially out now. She starts to shake with that knowledge and tastes sour in the back of her mouth. Foggy's parting shot at the retreating man makes let out a little giggle that she clamps down on before she breaks out in full on hysterical laughter.

"So," she rasps out shakily. "Who was that? Do either of you know?"

And with those scant seconds of space Daredevil yields while he finds his own footing, Ikari goes grappling into the night. "Oh, God damnit!" Daredevil vents, the faintest echo of Foggy's taunt, and the words themselves little more than heated breath on the light spring wind. He doesn't look upward to watch Ikari go, but in his mind's eye he maps out all the routes he could take to catch him: the scale of fire escapes, the swing of his own grappling hook, and the cold hard math comes up short. The man got away. Again.

And who will end up paying for it this time? Jessica? Kinsey? Anyone else that he's ever leant a hand to since he donned the mask?

He's jarred from his silent self-recriminations by Trish's hysterical break of a laugh. It's less the sound itself that surprises him and more the resonance; he let loose something disturbingly like that in the aftermath of his own fight with the masked warrior, and a surreal briefing from the FBI agent. He turns to face her, chest labored . Are you alright? Trish 'Patsy' Walker asks him. "Nice thing about red, they can't tell how much you're bleeding," he quips with dark humor. "But I'm doing better than him, that's for sure. I heard his arm crack."

As for who it was, at that the devil-masked man dips his head. "Payback from the — ah, man behind IGH. He's —" Daredevil stops, swallows, feels his own/ stretch of bile at the back of his throat. It's a familiar sensation, the last few days. "He's killing any women I've protected in the past." Which, of course, includes Trish's run-in with attackers a year ago, and just a few blocks over. Only the lower half of his expression is visible, but it registers something pained, even anguished. "This is because of me. I'm — I'm //sorry."

"The Ghost of Devil of Hell's Kitchen's Past?" Foggy offers to Trish in the wake of her laughter and question; he squeezes her elbow slightly, and then gently releases her entirely to let her find her footing without his hovering. Then he grimaces, feeling a deep ache in his body now that the adrenaline thins and leaves him aware of all being thrown into the ground multiple times and the trash cans.

He turns slowly to look toward Daredevil, and then something freezes him in place for a heartbeat as a familiar phrase cuts through his post-near-death haze. His brows arch high, and he straightens a bit, almost retreating a step. "What?" He squints slightly at Daredevil. He's lagged too much on his response, and the question almost sounds like he's asking for clarification on Daredevil's explanation on why Trish was attacked.

Trish gives another shudder as the cracked arm is mentioned. Given how close she had been to it, she has no doubt about that either. The pepper spray gets dropped back into her purse and she shakes her finger at Daredevil, then Foggy, choosing to respond to the humor first.

"You're a couple of funny guys, you know that. Can't see you bleed, Ghost of Devil's Past, good ones."

Trish frowns in confusion at Daredevil's apology, not quite understanding why he's saying sorry to her, after pulling her bacon off the fire. One more time. Payback from the man behind IGH finally sinks in and her knees give out, sinking her to the ground.

"Ohshitohshitohshitohshit…IGH. Of course it's IGH." She shakes her head and holds up both hands to Daredevil. "It's not your fault. Really, it's not, it's mine too. I came back, they didn't want me to come back, but the ratings were bad, and I just didn't care about the stories, so I came back. Oh god, I'm rambling. Shut up Trish."

She drops her head down on her knees. "I have a bad feeling about this. Someone is going to be pissed he didn't finish the job."

Matt Murdock, normally so attuned to the states of others, is blinded to Foggy's startlement by a combination of adrenaline, Trish's breakdown, and his own seemingly endless emotional gyre — the one that first started turning when he swung through the window of poor dead Allie LeGrange's and first battled Ikari more than w eek ago.

He can't see what he gave away, but you'd have to be truly blind to miss Trish's panic. He walks forward and drops to a knee beside her. "Yeah, you picked a hell of a time to come back to New York City, Ms. Walker," he says dryly, before he adds with an earnest drop of his voice, projecting a confidence he likely doesn't feel: "You're going to be fine. Nothing's going to happen to you. Go to Jones — you're almost there. Tell her what happened. We need to keep you away from your apartment and all your usual haunts and out of this guy's sights until I… figure out a solution here."

Then he is angling his head back towards Foggy. "Can you make sure she gets there alright?" he asks gruffly, with a little lift of his chin — absent any of the affable familiarity Matt would ever show his best friend in daytime hours.

"Yeah… we're a total hoot," Foggy says without missing a beat even while his green eyes hold steadily onto the Devil of Hell's Kitchen. He's missed something though at the stringing blurs of 'oh shit' from Trish. He shakes his head, breaking his focused on stare on Daredevil and instead looking at Trish. He hesitates. "IGH?" He glances between Trish and Daredevil.

When Trish sinks back into her knees, the lawyer reaches down to touch her shoulder gently as he resumes his low squat. When he's asked to look after Trish, he nods without thinking twice. "Yeah, sure…" He hesitates, still uncertain save for that uneasy knot in his gut. He sets his jaw, and then he takes a shot in the dark.

"I'll make sure she gets home okay, and then I gotta head over to my friend Matt's place… he owes me a drink now that he's back in town." He speaks to Trish even while he continues to stare at Daredevil. "That gonna be okay, Trish? Should I give Jess a call?"

Trish's shoulders shake in a soundless laugh. She has really put her foot in it this time. She has just broadcasted to a hired IGH killer that she has Telekinesis thanks to the IGH designer drugs they knew she took the last time they tried to kill her. Oh, yeah, Jessica is going to love this.

Her pride kicks in as she realizes both Foggy and Daredevil are now kneeling by her having a mini meltdown on the sidewalk. Although, no one could really blame her. /Pull yourself together, Walker/ she thinks to herself. Time to put on the big girl pants.

"Shitty timing is my other super power. It's kinda personal with me and IGH. I found out they are basically manufacturing superhero designer drugs, or at least CGI is. They basically paid to have me kept out of New York and to busy to make trouble for them. I'm thinking tonight was a two for one special."

She hauls herself to her feet at the mention of Jess's place. It's been a hell of a night, might as well see if Azalea is at her studio while she's at it. That's probably high on the list of places they won't expect her to be. More so than Alias.

"Yeah, Jess's sounds good. We don't need to call her though, she's busy working. I'll tell her what's up when she texts me she's done. Thanks Foggy. I'll admit I'm not really keen on going alone. Sorry I'm monopolizing your night. I hope you didn't have plans."

The rest of the by-play between the two friends goes over Trish's head. Matt's secret is safe from one person still, at least.

"Hey, thanks for showing up when you did. If there's anything I can do to help out, you let me know. I mean, aside from laying low and staying out of sight. You still have my number?"

The news that Wilson Fisk engineered Trish's job at NPR and her departure from New York surprises Daredevil, not only because it is news to him, but because it informs and complicates his view of Fisk — who up to now he'd viewed simply as an especially secretive thug. Engineering a new job opportunity for Trish speaks to a mind more subtle than he'd expected, willing to use tools other than violence to resolve difficult situations.

You might think that would comfort him; it doesn't. It just means Fisk is even more formidable than he thought.

And besides, that surprise pales in comparison to the jolt of icewater he feels when Foggy makes his cryptic comments about his friend Matt Murdock. What was it? His tone of voice? The cut of his jaw? Or the — that joke about the red. He'd used it first, ages ago, about his father's new boxing get-up. Had he retold it to Foggy some night when they were stumbling through the Columbia commons, sharing beers? Ten years is a long time — a lot of conversations.

Either way, Foggy knows. Or thinks he knows, at least. It's one more problem — and a devastating one — on top of the rest. The world has never felt more like quicksand under his oh-so-sensitive feet. But Matt? Matt does what he's done with such spectacular success his whole life to date: plays dumb. There's not a clench of his jaw or the solitary move of a muscle that's out of place. "Thanks," he tells Foggy simply of his willingness to escort her. And to Trish: "Still got it," he says of her number, mustering a faint smile as he rises with her. "It's going to be alright. Just — keep your head down. And text me when you're safe somewhere."

Then, he's turning, gathering up his batons and whirling one of them up into the night sky, a slender thread trailing its arc towards the rooftop above.

Foggy shakes his head at Trish's words, waving his hand aside. "Nah, no real plans… I'll get you back home, okay?" Not that the Nelson half of Nelson and Murdock felt like he could truly protect Trish if another one of those fake Devil's showed up. He waits for Trish to be ready to get up on her feet, ready to give her a hand-up and the needed support. "Jess is gonna love this. Make sure to talk up how awesome I am."

Then he looks back up to Daredevil — his jaw sets a bit. "Thank you," he says after a moment, and despite the waves of emotions in his voice, he was at least genuine in his gratitude. When Matt acknowledges he still has Trish's number, there's a faint hint of a smirk before he starts to help Trish up to her feet, preparing to lead her home.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License