Battles and Wars

August 15, 2018:

Danny calls in his lawyers/allies after Wilson Fisk blackmails him. (Set directly after Competing Interests)

Rand Industries HQ - CEO's Office

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Wilson Fisk

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

« I need to talk to you.» and then a second later, « and foggy too probably. Theres been a development. »

That slightly typoed text was sent to Matt Murdock moments after Danny got off the phone with Fisk. The summons is to his office at Rand Industries rather than his house. That in and of itself is unusual as ever since the bad press, he's kept his personal lawyer business out of his business-business.

He's not one to usually consume any kind of substances while on-duty, but there's a tumbler of whiskey in front of him, and a brand new bottle of Glenmorangie 15 nearby. It's nearly 10 PM, which means the doorman has to let any visitors in.

*

Foggy had actually been at Danny's house when he got the message from Matt to meet at Danny's office. Frowning, he made his way down to Rand Industries, feeling as though something was seriously amiss just by the mere location of the summons.

He wanders on in, letting the door shut behind him quietly just as he takes in the sight of Danny. That deepens the frown that has been lingering at the corners of his mouth. He starts toward him, shrugging out of his messenger bag, and then flops down in a chair.

"Hey," he says, voice light, but a bit apprehensive.

*

It's ironic that Danny looks more like an executive in this moment than he ever has before. His face is serious, his shoulders tight. He's sort of leaning against his desk, hands clenched on the edges. The light in the room primarily comes from a lamp behind his desk. The New York City skyline is visible and glittering out floor-to-ceiling windows.

Only a slight tilt up of his head shows that he acknowledges Foggy's entrance. He looks up, flares his nostrils and says, "I just got off the phone with Fisk."

*

It is unusual to see Danny so tense — coiled so tight. It is out of character.

There's a thump as Foggy drops his bag — the only sound filling the silence after those words. Some words start and fail on his lips, and he ends up rubbing along his jaw and mouth as he leans forward in his newly acquired seat. "Alright, alright… what did he want?"

*

Danny tugs out another glass and fills a generous shot. He pushes it towards Foggy. "Blackmail. I…" he looks towards the door. "Should I get into it, or wait to explain it to both of you?" He's still looking tense, but there's a hint of vulnerability that shows the edges of fear when he meets Foggy's eyes for a moment.

*

The drink is well-accepted, and Foggy takes it without a second thought. Good thing that Danny went for generous, because the lawyer downs half of it in a single swallow. Cradling the tumbler now in his hands, he glances to the door and then back to Danny. "Let's wait for Matt," he says, voice rough by the burn of the whiskey. His mouth tightens, and suddenly all he can think about is how close Frank Castle might be getting to just kill this guy, this Kingpin.

*

An uncomfortable silence settles into the office. The glass separating them from New York is surprisingly sound-proof. And with the late hour, there's not a lot of ambient noise save the far-off hum of a floor polisher. Danny bends his fingers under, nails dragging a little over the old wood of the desk - his father's desk. After the silence ticks on for just a bit too long, he says, "How much do you know about what's been going on?"

*

That question is leaden. It sags Foggy's shoulders, and draws his mouth thinner still. "Dude, I don't even know where to start answering that question. I know that Fisk blew up New York City, I know that he hired the Mexican Cartel to plant the bombs, I know that he did it to score cheap real estate so he can easily profit from a gentrification overhaul." He looks seriously at Danny. "And I know that Hell's Kitchen has a whole handful of vigilantes out to make sure that he pays for the eight thousand lives he took to make all this happen. Is that enough?" Or is there more I should know? That goes unspoken, but Foggy always feels like he's about ten steps behind everyone else. Another reason, perhaps, he was so willing to bring in Frank Castle…

*

Danny nods slowly and worries his lower lip with the edge of his teeth. He swallows a mouthful of the whiskey and nudges the bottle over towards Foggy in case he should want a top-up. "Yeah. That's. That's about the size of it."

A pause, a pregnant pause and then, "Did I tell you that I'm the Immortal Iron Fist, protector of K'un L'un?"

*

Now it's Foggy's turn to pause. His brows actually furrow together slightly. "I don't know, don't think so." He frowns thoughtfully. "Where's K'un L'un? Or… who is K'un L'un? And are you actually immortal? I've seen Interview with the Vampire — immortality kind of sucks, when you really think about it."

Tired, nervous, anxious… that just turns Foggy into a rambling machine.

*

"No, I'm not…immortal. Or at least I don't think I am." Danny didn't exactly read the whole Iron Fist manual. "K'un L'un is a realm that only syncs back up with this world every ten years." He lifts his brows purposefully, urging Foggy to make the connection with his ten-year disappearance without spelling it out.

*

"I'm not suggesting you test your mortality." Foggy takes the bottle now, and it clanks lightly against his glass as he refills the whiskey. When he looks back up at Danny it is only after something clicks. "Wait… ten years? Are you trying to tell me you spent ten years in the realm of K'un L'un and… dude, what was the food like?"

*

That was…not the question that Danny was expecting to be asked about his time spent in a mystical realm. Despite all the tension, he cracks a small smile. "Humble. Simple. Rice. Eggs. Vegetables. Occasionally some meat. When I got back, I ate a Big Mac and barfed it in the gutter almost immediately. My body didn't know what to do with it."

*

That text from Danny had caught Matt Murdock in the basement of Fogwell's Gym, getting ready to go out for his night gig, so it takes him a little longer than Foggy to recalibrate and make his way to Danny's tower. His arrival is signaled by the opening of the elevator door, a tap-tapping of his way down the hall for the benefit of internal security cameras rather than the men who are both in the know about all that he can do.

"Probably not NYC's next big takeout sensation, then," Matt suggests of K'un Lunese cuisine dryly as he slips through the glass doors, the quip punctuated by a brief flicker of a smile. He slips into the space and 'feels' his way towards a seat.

"Hey, Fog, Danny." And then it's right to business, given the urgency of Rand's outreach: "What's the news in here?"

*

"Well, then you reacted to a Big Mac the way most average Americans do." Foggy returns the small smile with one of his own before he takes another sip from the tumbler, this time measuring his consumption a bit. He knows things are about to get serious again, so he paces himself. Which was the smart move, because in comes Matt.

"I don't know, Matt… sounds like it just needs a quick dance in a wok and you got fried rice." Then he looks back to Danny when Matt asks for the news, and gestures for the Rand son. All yours, Danny.

*

Danny's expression returns to the tension that was only momentarily vanquished by talk of Big Macs and fried rice. "Hey, Matt. Drink?" And then he stands up from behind his desk and shrugs off the suit jacket that suddenly feels constraining. "About a half an hour ago, Fisk called me and blackmailed me. He told me to stop bidding on Hell's Kitchen properties or he'll pin the death of the woman who leaked the memos on Rand." He inhales sharply through his nostrils, causing them to flare. "He killed her, and it's my fault."

*

Matt puts up a staying hand on the offer of Danny Rand's fine whiskey as he eases into his chair. "No, uh, thanks," he says with a nod towards the window and New York City's skyline. "I'm going out later."

When Danny outlines the reason he brought them here, Matt's features shutter and harden. Foggy, at least, knows him well enough to detect the signs of barely coiled fury. "It's not your fault," Matt murmurs, absolving Danny in a way he never would himself. "Did he call your cell? Or your office?"

*

There's an unsettling trend that Foggy is picking up here: Fisk likes to threaten women close to his friends. His jaw works a little bit as he flexes his hand equally around the tumbler in his hands. He glances toward Matt, detecting that barely-held fury, and then back to Danny. "Does he know that you're the IIF?" Immortal Iron Fist for those just joining us. "Or is he treating you strictly as Daniel Rand?"

*

Danny doesn't look so convinced. He swallows but doesn't contradict Matt. He glances to Foggy, momentarily confused. Then, after the second bit, he gets it. "Oh. He knows. I know. We…know." Damnit, secret identities are hard!

As to Matt's question? He nods towards his desk phone. The receiver is cracked and it's sitting slightly askew. It's also now unplugged because it wouldn't sit properly on the cradle after he strangled it. "…office."

*

It's a visual cue and dark irony Matt can't appreciate. He just accepts the answer with a nod as he leans forward, elbows on his knees and hands clasped together. "Do you know how he killed her? When?" the lawyer asks in his quiet, careful cadence.

*

Foggy glances to the phone, and his frown works deeper. Then he looks back to Matt. The more probing questions about the woman's death has the Nelson half of Nelson and Murdock looking a bit green. "Is there a particular reason we're not calling the police on this? We've got people we know we can tap for this… maybe Mahoney. Or… am I missing something?"

*

"I fully believe Fisk can pin this on Rand, if not me personally. But that's not why we're not going to the police," says Danny. "We're not because if we do, more people are going to die. And whether I back down from buying these properties or not, he's going to take me out of the game. Either by me cooperating, or by implicating this company in some massive cover-up." He lifts a hand, then lets it drop.

He lets those words rest a moment before drawing the tumbler with its remaining whiskey towards his mouth. He sips it. "I managed to buy a little time to say it'll take some time to drop out of the bidding. Which is true. If I suddenly drop all the bids in Hell's Kitchen, it's going to look suspicious. Fisk said that as long as progress is being made, he won't implicate Rand. And once I pull out entirely, he'll release information that clears Rand entirely."

He worries his lip again. It's very obvious that he's not the least bit pleased by the idea of capitulating to Fisk. "There's something else. Have either of you heard the name James Wesley?"

*

"People are already dying," Matt whispers to Danny, his pensive brow creased ten different ways. "I — when Fisk killed those women I saved?" The fact still pains him, if the reflexive, rhythmic tightening of his clasped hands is any sign. "I blamed myself. Told myself that, absent me, they'd still be alive."

A beat, a twitch of anger around his nose and the corner of his eyes, only partly obscured by those rectangular brown shades. "But then Fisk killed eight thousand more. Not because of us or anything we were doing, but because that was his plan all along irrespective of us. Not fighting him won't save lives. Taking them is what he does."

He draws in a breath through his nose. "If the police aren't at her place already we should find a way to make sure Mahoney is there first somehow," he says finally. "But I think we should alert SHIELD. They're read in on the case already and can monitor it all without getting their fingerprints all over it."

*

The mention of Wesley has Foggy looking grim. "Glasses, right? Yeah, I know of him." Then he looks to Matt as he speaks of his own guilt. "You don't know that, Matt." The words are spoken quietly, but firmly. Then he looks back toward Danny, and he exhales slowly. "Alright. I can put a call in to Mahoney… some client gave me a tip-off that something may have gone down in her neighbor's apartment." The mention of SHIELD has him grimacing a bit, but he nods slowly. "Alright, but…"

Foggy's voice tapers off as he thinks, rolling the tumbler between his palms in an almost telltale gesture of introspection. When he looks back up at Danny and Matt, it's easy to see he's come to an idea. "Any way we can taint Fisk's supposed evidence that this was the work of Rand?"

*

"It's too late to keep this quiet. He called me and told me to turn on the TV. She was shot. Gunned down on the street. The reporters…" Danny looks at the TV hanging on the wall. It might be off, but he can still see the images even though it's nothing more than a black rectangle. "…were already there." He stares at the wall for a moment, then forces himself to look away. He clears his throat.

"I don't know who he is, but whoever he is, he was Fisk's friend." Was. "He believes one of us murdered him. Guys…is saving Hell's Kitchen from gentrification really worth risking more innocent lives? If Fisk thinks one of us killed his friend, this is personal for him. It's been personal for us the whole time, but as terrible as this all was, I think this was…just…business for him."

*

"He was Fisk's guy," Matt says, jaw working this way and that. "I thought he was just a bag man." The news that he wasn't, that he was something more like a confidant or even friend, has him pensive again. And quiet, too, until Danny pipes up.

"It's not just business for Fisk too," he says as he straightens up in his seat, leans against its back. "It's deeply personal. He put twice as many explosives under the apartment building he grew up in, where his dad beat his mom on the regular before he one day disappeared. What happened to Hell's Kitchen wasn't on us — it was him doing what he does. Besides, after all he's done already? I'm not willing to let him just walk away. Are you?"

*

"I really hate this guy," Foggy breathes out in a sigh. Then he twitches slightly around the tumbler again before he drains it down, setting the empty glass heavily on the desk. The question Danny asks tips his gaze toward Matt. Saving Hell's Kitchen from gentrification, is that all this is? Eight thousand lives all taken in the name of hipster micro-breweries and whole food smoothie joints. Nothing about this saves Foggy's stomach from turning sour.

"Rand should pull out of the bidding war," Foggy says this on the heels of Matt's question, and he glances to his friend briefly. What he says next is met with a tight-lipped frown. "You slowed him down, Danny, but Matt's right. This is personal, and Fisk going after Rand is going to impact more than just you."

*

"I'm not saying we stop fighting him, Matt," says Danny. "Not at all. But we're losing this front. The real estate front. We might have to retreat here so we're still strong enough to fight the war. Because if I fight him on this, it might take me out of the game entirely. At least…take Rand's resources off the table. And if he implicates me personally, I'm going to become a prisoner in my own home, if not a literal prisoner. Then I won't be able to fight in the streets, either." He leans back in his chair and tosses a hand up.

When Foggy speaks, he nods slowly. "I hate it, but it's the truth. And if we tried to find a way around it by…using a shell company or enlisting the help of someone else with capital, Fisk would probably spot it and come at me anyway. I think…the time for these chess moves is over. We need to take him out. Somehow. If we do it soon, it might be possible for me to still buy up the properties."

*

Matt Murdock is Danny Rand's lawyer. In theory, at least, Matt's job is to protect Danny Rand's interests. But that's not all he is, or all they are. "You fight him at all in a way that he can see, even on the streets, and he'll pull that trigger anyway," the lawyer says flatly, with a jut of his jaw. "So what you're telling me is that, instead of figuring out a way to counter him, you just would rather not be seen as fighting at all. Fine. You tell me what you'll do that he won't see coming."

He's angry. Perhaps not at Danny, but at the situation.

*

"I don't think that's what Danny is saying, Matt… and I think you know that. You're pissed, I get it, but until now we've been reactive to everything Fisk does. We let him make the move, and we respond. Isn't it time that we make a move that make him respond?" Foggy holds up his hands now. "I don't know what that move is, not yet."

*

"He doesn't know I can fight, Matt. We can use that. I can keep coming at him with this." Danny holds up a fist. A fist that he hasn't ignited since before the bad press hit, before Hell's Kitchen was partially razed. "And I can keep helping the people who got displaced. I can still set up the foundation. I can fight for affordable housing politically. And if we manage to take out Fisk before these sales are finalized? Then I can buy them, and make sure good people aren't driven out of their neighbourhoods. But if I'm in prison or cut off from Rand's funds? Then we have none of that. And I don't think you're in the headspace to represent me at a murder trial right now."

He goes quiet for a moment and lets Foggy speak. Even though he knows Matt can't see him, he looks right at the other man. "There are battles, and there is the war. Real estate is the battle. Taking down Fisk? That's the big picture. That's the war. Wisdom means knowing when to retreat so you can keep fighting. And like Foggy said, find a way to strike him so we're not always on our back foot."

*

Matt can be a hard man to make out, especially when he's wearing his shades, but it's hard to mistake the darkening of his aspect when Danny says he's in the wrong headspace to represent him. "As your attorney, Danny? I'm going to suggest that backing out of your bids is a temporary solution to a longstanding problem," his lawyer says coolly. "There's no way in hell Fisk will exonerate you. He will hold whatever he has to implicate you in his hand for the rest of his life. Or until he's arrested, in which case he'll give it to the feds to strike a better deal. The only way to save yourself is to kill him or prove that he killed her. It's that simple." Which of those is his preference? At the moment, unclear.

He draws in a breath that flares his nose. "And if you want to pull out? Fine." Read: not fine. "I understand the logic. But let's be clear about this: we're //still/ reacting. We're just reacting in a different way. You want to talk about strategy and initiative? I welcome the conversation. But the clock's ticking."

*

Foggy turns to Matt fully now, watching his friend move through his own emotions as Danny lays down his own case. He waits for a long heartbeat after Matt speaks, and then he reaches out to squeeze the blind man's shoulder. "Let's give Danny sometime to think about this, alright? Cm'on." He starts to stand, snatching his messenger bag off the floor where it was dropped. He gives Danny a mute nod before he starts to guide Matt out.

"None of this is easy for anyone, man," he says softly to Matt. "Give the guy a break, okay?"

*

Matt feels his Foggy's hand on his shoulder and something moves inside of him; it's reflected on the surface of his countenance. He is behaving badly with a friend, and client. He used to have deep wells of empathy in him — they're what moved him to become a defense attorney instead of a crusading prosecutor. Have they been emptied out or dried up by all of this?

"Yeah, of course," the lawyer murmurs as he pushes himself to a rise, grabbing his propped-up walking stick. He turns back to Rand and adds: "We're going to — make some calls with our friends at the department. See what we can figure out. We'll be in touch, Danny."

And then he's making his way out with Fog. "I know it's not," he murmurs back as the glass doors shut behind them. "Easy, that is. And he's given a lot. More than anyone could ever expect. But we're losing, Fog. And now we're retreating, without a plan to regroup or rally or strike back. And people we know, people we represent, people who started out with a lot less than Rand before they lost nearly everything they did have, could lose any chance they have of getting it back. We — need to do better."

*

Foggy gives Danny one last nod before he steps out with Matt. Habits always die hard with this man, and he's still helping Matt navigate the outside hallway as if his friend is still as blind as they come. He's quiet as he walks alongside him, letting Matt sink into his own feelings and perhaps the uncertainty that those feelings come with. "Danny's not wrong… about the differences between battles and wars. I don't know what we're losing… if its just a few battles, or if it is the war entirely. I don't know, Matt… I really don't know."

Foggy hits the button for the elevator, and then exhales deeply as he turns to face his friend. "It might be time to strategize more… we're got to figure this guy out. Know thy enemy and all that shit."

*

The elevator doors close, and Matt Murdock takes a breath, turns his head upward and closes his eyes tight behind his glasses. "Eight thousand people are dead, Wilson Fisk owns a quarter of the neighborhood, and the last real punch we landed against him was eight months ago," the lawyer says with quiet rue. "We're fucking losing."

Still, Foggy's efforts at reassurance aren't completely wasted. Because after half a minute and about fifty floors, Matt quirks a smile. It's weary beyond measure, but genuine.

"Know your enemy, huh? I'm going to start calling you Fog Zu."

*

"Yeah," is all Foggy can say to the pronounced fact that they are, in fact, fucking losing. He sinks into that silence until it is broken again, and Foggy snorts indignantly.

"You're hilarious."

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