Normalcy (Ha. Yeah, OK...)

June 26, 2018:

Foggy checks in on Matt.

Matt's Apartment

It's a really kickass apartment. There's floors and walls and lots of red glowy stuff.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: Under Pressure, Queen (feat. David Bowie)


Fade In…

It's a hallmark of Foggy Nelson's new life when a quiet, uneventful day is a weird day. But, it's been a weird day. No Faeries, no Asgardians, no superheroes. He worked with actual people today about actual issues that he could wrap his head around from Mrs. Ruiz's landlord troubles, to a few unlawful arrest cases, and then some basic notary work on a business application. When the day wraps and he locks up, he actually feels like he had been in an episode of the Twilight Zone, which meant he needs to check on Matt.

Some cold noodle salads from the Pho joint, a six pack of nondescript beers, and a pint of Ben and Jerry's in a cold bag, and he's clomping up the stairs to Matt's apartment. He knocks at the door, announcing himself soon after. "Yo, Matt… It's Foggy. I got food." Then he waits, beers under his arm, bag of noodles and ice cream clutched in one hand, and loosening his tie.

*

"Yeah, hold on," calls a voice from behind the door, and it's a full four minutes before it actually opens. Matt could almost be forgiven if he were actually as blind as he'd been passing himself off as these last eight years of their friendship. But he isn't. Still, he opens the door to reveal his dressed down self: t-shirted and jeans, red glasses off. Ghosts of bruises grace his temple, his jawline, his left forearm, but they aren't fresh — they're old and yellowing.

"Uh, hey," Matt says, trying to summon up a smile with only middling results. Which isn't to say he isn't glad to see Foggy, especially as their contacts have been few and far between since their last tense, fraught chat here. He's been 'working from home' for days on end, and spending his nights doing — well. Who knows what?

He waves Foggy in. "Come on in. You really shouldn't have — but I won't say no."

*

The lack of new bruises actually is a relief for Foggy, and it shows in the way his smile relaxes a bit and his shoulders loosen. He steps on in with the food and beers, and he lets Matt shut the door behind him. Only once the door is shut does Foggy offer a slight shrug of his shoulders. "You're probably starving yourself." He steps further in before Matt can object, and sets the goods on the counter. He starts to unpack the noodles and the ice cream and grabs the bottle opener off the top of the fridge to pop open two bottles of beer.

This is all part of a busying technique until he can sip the beer. Then he looks up toward his friend and asks the real crucial question: "How are you doing, Matt?"

*

Matt gives a brief, incredulous puff of a laugh when Foggy says that he's probably starving himself. "Fog, you sound like your mom," he says of the woman who wanted nothing more than Franklin Nelson to go into cured meats as he scratches behind the back of his neck and shuts the door. Unhurried but unmindful steps carry him into the space beyond the foyer with an ease he never would have shown with his friend a few weeks ago. It's a strange sensation for him, not hiding it.

And then, into this unsettled space that has yet to reach a new equilibrium, Foggy asks a simple question. "How am I doing?" Matt repeats quizzically. His gut reaction is more deflection — another round of wry little jabs. Or else a nonchalance that Foggy would never, now, in a million years buy. The man runs a hand through his barely, badly combed mop of reddish-brown hair. "I've — ah. I don't know. Been better, to be honest." He puffs out a breath, one corner of his lips curling upwards in a sudden twinge of self-deprecating humor. "Just to — you know. Try that honesty thing out for a while."

He reaches over and unerringly plucks a beer out of the sixpack. A neat trick against the corner of his kitchen counter and the lid is off. He flicks it in the air and it lands in the garbage pale.

"You?"

*

Foggy looks bewildered at Matt at the comparison to his mother. "Dude, low blow."

He watches Matt move, surprised by the sureness of his steps, but trying to keep that look from his face — and the idea that he has to control his expression is also new. It's still an uneasy new place that these two friends find themselves in. He takes another sip of his beer to hide his uncertainty.

He looks up to Matt when he tries for the nonchalance, and he just shakes his head slowly. "Hey, I appreciate the honesty, even if it seems to inflict actual pain." There's that own returned humor, as Foggy doesn't sound actually perturbed by the way his friend holds himself now.

His brows arch at the uncapping of the beer bottle, but he doesn't say anything as he sips at his own beer again. It gives him his own thinking time at the returned question. "I… uh… went to see Kinsey. I've decided that I'm the only honest person in the whole world. She's so pissed at you, she broke a coffee mug with her own bare hands." He pauses, grimacing. "Anyone else I know that has superpowers, or am I the only odd one out?"

*

Matt leans forward against the edge of the kitchen counter, elbows planted on the surface. "What, am I wrong?" he asks with a lift of his chin, some of his old jostling humor coming to the fore. "How many times in college did she tell me I needed to fatten up?"

It's comforting, the back and forth with this friend who has become the single abiding fixture of his adult life. A return to something like normalcy. And it could go on a while, before Foggy takes it in a direction that startles him to a full stand, eyebrows lifted high, unguarded eyes registering sheer shock.

"Wait, what?" he says, as if he — of all people — didn't hear Foggy Nelson right. "You went to see her? Fog, I told you not to do that." His brow wrinkles and his eyes shut tight at the very idea, and what Foggy says of her sentiment towards him seems to do him no favors. He brings the cold beer to his head to quell a sudden headache and to cool a pulse that's currently racing across his temple.

It's a long moment before he speaks. "I think…" he says absently, eyes still closed and expression longsuffering, "Pepper Potts is pretty normal, if that's any consolation."

*

The Nelson half of Nelson and Murdock removes two chopsticks from the bag that contained the noddles. It's a good distraction from the words that Matt's laying on him. He really doesn't want to meet the guy's eyes, and he puffs out his cheeks a bit. "Yeah, well… I did." He looks up now, combing back the thick forelock that cuts across his green eyes. "And I'm not going into about what Kinsey and I talked about. Not yet."

The mention of Pepper has Foggy looking both relieved, and slightly sheepish. "Well, there's small mercies in this world. No way I can compete if everyone in New York City is superpowered. Because, I'm just Franklin Percy Nelson… Attorney at Law."

Then he takes another sip of beer before he hands Matt a pair of chopsticks. "Look, Matt. You can be mad at me, but then I'm going to call you out on being a hypocrite, because I'm pretty sure I get to piss you off like a million more times before we're even."

*

Matt summons a breath that flares his nostrils and brings the cold beer at his forehead down to his lips for a long sip. "I'm not mad at you," he answers ruefully after he swallows, and lets that brief fleeting flicker of euphoria fill him and smooth out his rough edges. "Not really. It's just —"

And then he looks pained all over again. "Things with Kinsey are complicated." A beat, and then a dark, wry acknowledgment of Foggy's discovery about her: "…obviously, I guess. They have been since the start, though we papered a lot of those complications over."

His shoulders rise and fall with a deep breath. "She's — ah. Got good reason to be angry with me, though." The corners of his lips twitch. "You both do."

*

"Matt, dude. I think we're both having to face a reality that you're always going to be complicated." He sets down his beer, looking seriously at his friend. "You're a not-actually-blind blind man who serves New York as a vigilante and a lawyer. And you still haven't even told me how you went from blind to not-actually-blind, and the entire origin story of Daredevil. It's on my to-do list, but I'm holding off."

He runs a hand through his hair, slicking it back from his eyes. When he looks back up at Matt, his green eyes are serious. "I'm still angry at you, man. Being lied to for our entire friendship is the biggest sack of shit to lug around, but I'm getting pretty good at carrying it. What's pissing me off the most is that you're still not coming into work. So, if you could get over that, I'd really appreciate it." He starts in on his own noodle container, glancing up at Matt once before he digs in.

*

Foggy confesses his anger and lingering wounds after having been kept so long in the dark, and Matt visibly flinches. It's remarkable how much of his life is spent doing things that will inevitably hurt the people he cares for in the supposed name of 'sparing them.' He lets Foggy speak his peace, for the most part, but there's one point where he protests: "I'm blind, Fog," Matt says, settling back down and resting his forearms on the table. "If Daredevil needs defuse a nuclear bomb, and there's one red wire and one blue wire? Or if I need to use a touchpad? New York City is pretty much fucked."

His jaw shifts while he swallows a little gallows-humored smile. "Which is to say it's — yeah. Complicated." But also a story that he seems more than happy to leave for another time, since Foggy himself seems amenable.

No, the twinge of internal resistance comes when Foggy tries to bring him back to office. After the last harrowing few weeks, most of them spent living in the spare room in Fogwell's Gym and brutally decimating the Russian mob in New York City, and with all he suspects he might have to do on the horizon — a return to 'business as usual' seems somehow fraudulent.

You need to talk to the people you love. Remind them why they are important to you. It will refuel your soul for the battle ahead.

That's what Azalea Kingston had told him on the rooftop months ago. And if she's right — if he really can sooth Foggy, at least for a while, and ready himself for the coming fight? Maybe he can fake a little normalcy.

Hell, he thinks to himself wryly, isn't that exactly what he's been doing for the last eighteen years? "Yeah," he says, clearing his throat and offering his friend a half-smile. "Yeah, I can do that."

*

"Well, if Daredevil needs to defuse a nuclear bomb, I hope he brings Jessica Jones along to help him with color coding." Foggy shoves a mouthful of noodles in his mouth, chewing away. It gives them both time to just settle into silence after Matt promises some normalcy.

After his mouthful is done, Foggy pushes forward a container of noodles toward Matt. "Good. Now eat. Or I'm calling Mom." He stuffs another mouthful of noodles in his mouth with the chopsticks.

For the rest of his time within Casa Murdock, Foggy gives Matt the lowdown on some of their new clients — the normal ones. He can talk about Faeries and Asgardian goats later.

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