Jessica stumbled into the hospital, a freely bleeding Matt slung over her shoulder. He wasn’t heavy so much as he was unwieldy. Headed to the nurses station and shushing Matt’s mumbled protests, Jessica offered her most genuine grimace to Claire, the nurse scowling as soon as she saw them.
“Seriously?” Claire hissed. “I literally just started working here!”
Jessica winced. “I know this looks bad.”
“What the hell happened to him?” Claire came up to Matt and started a cursory examination.
Raising her eyebrow to express her skepticism, Claire silently waited for the real cause.
Jessica rolled her eyes. “I’m serious. He got hit by a car.”
After a second of blatant scrutiny, Claire clearly trying to detect any sort of lie, she sighed. “We better get him checked in.”
While the hospital did whatever it was hospitals did (her own personal experience was probably not the norm when it came to medical care), Jessica tapped her boot against the linoleum in the waiting room and made a call.
As soon as the call connected, she barked out a quick, “Nelson.”
“Ms Jones,” came the drawled, heavily sarcastic reply. “To what do I owe the pleasure?”
She could practically hear all his sarcasm evaporate. “What happened?”
“He’s in the hospital.”
“I’ll text you the address.”
“What did you guys get into this time?”
Jessica leaned back, the pleather squeaking underneath her. “Nothing, you know, powered. He got hit by a car.”
“Text me the damn address, I’ll be there in ten.”
Nelson wasn’t actually there in ten minutes, but he was close enough, Jessica figured. He rushed over to her, suit distinctly rumpled and enough sweat staining his shirt to tell her he had definitely ran some of the distance. “Ok, what the hell?”
Both hands rising to stop the onslaught of concerned best friend, Jessica tossed her head. “Nothing illegal, scout’s honor.”
A sceptical glare had her sighing out an exaggerated exhale. “Jesus Christ, Nelson. I’m telling the truth. We were walking back from a lead we’d just interviewed. A dog ran into the road and Murdock jumped in before a car could hit it. The car hit Matt instead.”
“He jumped into the road?” Nelson dropped into the seat beside her, shaky hand pushing his sweat damp and dishevelled hair out of his face.
“To save a dog.”
“And he got hit instead.”
“That’s what I said.”
“Dammit, only Matt.”
Although she probably could have left as soon as Nelson arrived, Jessica waited at his side, surrounded by the truly horrifying waiting room wallpaper. They didn’t talk, both on their phones tapping at whatever. Nelson probably had some lawyer stuff to handle. Jessica had to let Danny and Luke know about the lead she and Matt followed and his accident.
Claire came out, raising her eyebrow at Jessica but otherwise not commenting on her continued presence. Jessica always did appreciate Claire. “Alright, you guys can see him.”
“Claire!” Nelson shot up and out of his seat. “What happened? How is he? Is he ok?”
“Fractured arm, cuts, bruises,” Claire listed easily. “Some older, extensive, and stubbornly unexplained injuries. The doctor wasn’t exactly falling for his excuses, but he didn’t have the time to interrogate a patient so Matt’s secret should be safe. We’ve got him on some heavy painkillers, but I’m going to start checking him out anyway.”
“It’s miracle you got him to agree to painkillers,” Nelson huffed.
“Yeah,” Jessica snorted. “This is the guy I watched take an ibuprofen for a stab wound.”
Waving for them to follow, Claire led them down the hall. “Yeah, well, he didn’t have a lot of choice. It was either take the painkillers or explain to the already suspicious doctor about his mysterious injuries and alarming tolerance for pain.”
Claire knocked lightly on the inside of the door before waltzing in. “You’ve got visitors.”
Matt turned his head, smiling a big, dopey smile. His glasses were off, set on the bedside table alongside his folded cane. “Foggy! Jessica!”
Nelson paused and blinked. “Hey, buddy.”
Matt tried to get up, left arm already in a brace, but Claire pushed him down. “Easy there, Matt.”
He pouted, honest to god pouted. “But Foggy. And Jessica.”
Claire smirked. “I know. I’m going to get your paperwork done. Behave.”
“Thank you, I will, I love you.” Matt nodded like a bobblehead.
Jessica felt her mouth drop open and Nelson’s blank expression transformed to glee.
Snorting, Claire looked over her shoulder. “Don’t let Luke hear you saying that.”
“Why?” Tilting his head like a puppy, Matt frowned gently. “Is he jealous? It’s ok. I love him too.”
Claire’s laughter echoed down the hall.
“You’re high as a kite,” Jessica noted, stunned at the difference a little drugs made to the man. He held himself loosely, all tension gone from his frame, and he seemed ready to smile at the slightest provocation. Her words had him grinning broadly.
“The doctor gave me something. I didn’t want it, but he was very persuasive. He also smelled like one of the nurses. I think they’re having an affair. Like in Grey’s Anatomy.”
Jessica shook her head and scoffed. “When did you watch Grey’s Anatomy?”
“Foggy,” Matt giggled. Literally giggled. Jessica couldn’t help her horrified stare. Daredevil just giggled and it was fucking weird.
Nelson hunched his shoulders defensively. “Ok, I like the show, it’s not a crime.”
“Anyways,” Nelson raised his voice and shook off his embarrassment. “Just because you’re cute and high doesn’t mean I’m not mad at you.”
“Why?” Matt whined. And the pout was back, paired by suspiciously wet eyes and a trembling lip. “I hate it when you’re mad at me.”
“You got hit by a car, Matt!”
“He did do it to save a dog,” Jessica defended.
“It was a good reason, I get it, but he’s still injured!” Waving aggressively at Matt and his newly bandaged body, Foggy half shouted. “You let yourself get hit by a freaking car, Matt!”
Matt sat up straight, face suddenly hard and somber. Jessica groaned. She recognized that look. It was always paired with a very heartfelt and passionate speech about saving lives and protecting the city and its innocents blah blah blah. From the way Nelson’s stance became just a little bit more irritated, he recognized the expression too.
And then Matt opened his mouth with the utmost seriousness.
“He is a good dog, Foggy. Good dogs do not get hit by cars. Not on my watch.”
Nelson covered his mouth, muffling hysterical laughter.
The corner of Jessica’s mouth ticked upward.
“Ok, Jesus, alright.” Nelson sat in the chair beside Matt’s bed, his face softening as he looked over his friend. “At least you had Jessica to take care of you.”
“I mostly just dragged his body here,” Jessica clarified.
“Jessica is the best,” Matt beamed, looking so much younger now that his expression radiated happiness. “She’s mean and she always smells like whiskey and she’s nice and also she didn’t get that mad at me for breaking her camera. She’s a hero, Foggy, did you know?”
Jessica turned away and coughed. “Ok, cool it, Murdock. You sound like a first grader on crack.”
Nelson smiled impishly at Jessica. “Really, Matt? Tell me more.”
Matt hummed, bouncing happily on the bed. “She’s strong and she’s good at tailing people and she can almost fly. She’s very smart. Foggy, I think the doctor and nurse are having sex in the closet. I hear moans. Oh, she knows almost as many good food trucks as you, she’s funny, and she’s pretty.”
“How can you possibly know if I’m pretty or not?” Jessica cut in, feeling uncomfortable from Matt’s attention. “You can’t see me.”
Matt gave her an exasperated look, lips pinching together in a thin line. “I don’t need to see to know you’re pretty.”
“Alright, I’m going,” Jessica said at once, moving towards the door. “Get back to us when you’re out of here and not on drugs. See you around, Nelson.”
“Ms Jones.” The amusement in Nelson’s voice was palpable.
“Bye, Jessica! Love you! Foggy, Jessica left.”
“I know, Matty.”
“I miss her.”
Jessica sped up and refused to look back.
About an hour later and Jessica was back in her office. She took a swig of her drink and made a face, eyes straining from the blue light of her computer screen. Danny used his own laptop at Malcolm’s old desk, going through some digital files Karen had found. Luke was on the couch, rifling through paperwork Jessica snagged from the county clerk’s. Everytime he found something suspicious he made a low noise and highlighted the page. Her phone vibrated, a welcome distraction from the dead ends she kept running into online.
Opening the message, Jessica couldn’t help her slight smile.
It was a selfie Nelson had taken of himself, Matt, and Claire.
Matt was smiling that big, goofy smile. His eyes were crinkled and half closed and his cheeks dimpled because of course Matt had dimples. He had an arm around Claire and Foggy and they were all pressed cheek to cheek. Claire might’ve been rolling her eyes, but her smile was genuine. Nelson looked delighted, grin nearly matching Matt’s.
About to check out. Lost count of the times Matt told us he loves us. He misses you and sends his love.
Jessica tapped out a quick response.
Matt’s a love slut on drugs.
Nelson’s response was immediate.
You like it.
She didn’t bother responding, instead saving the photo to her camera roll.
“Who’s that?” Luke asked, looking over at her with a curious expression.
“Why do they have you looking happy?” Danny added, chin resting in his hand. “And how? What did they do ?”
“Fuck off,” she snapped.
Jessica double checked to make sure the photo saved properly.