Actions

Work Header

The Greatest of These

Chapter Text

Looking back, he definitely ignored the pain as a symptom.

 

After all, he hurt most days, usually from a combination of the physical exertion of beating up people and those same people beating him up right back. So of course he dismissed the pain as part of the overall pain.

 

He did make an appointment when he started having to wake up at the night to use the bathroom, and he felt vaguely achy and feverish. He just figured it was some sort of an infection.

 

Matt describes his symptoms, skirting over the description of pain in favour of the others.

The doctor pauses after asking him if there’s been blood in his urine.

“Actually we should probably just check.”

Matt agrees that would probably be the best.

 

He pees in a cup and goes home after receiving a prescription for antibiotics and making an appointment for the next week.

 

“I’d like to do an ultrasound,” the doctor tells him next visit. He does not explain why. Matt’s fever and infection symptoms have left after the antibiotics, but the pain still remains.

“Have you ever been diagnosed with high blood pressure?” he is asked, the blood pressure cuff still half inflated on his arm.

He just shakes his head. The doctor makes another note.

 

He goes for the ultrasound. He obviously can’t see it, and even if he could, would be unable to identify anything about it, but he can hear the tech’s nervous heartbeat as she runs the wand over his back and side.

 

Two days later his doctor’s office calls with a referral to a nephrologist.

“That’s a kidney doctor,” the woman on the phone tells him.

He figured it probably was, based on the heavy investigation of his kidneys in the past month, but does not say so.

 

She gives him a date that is only two weeks away, and he puts the appointment into his phone. He’s also sent a prescription for blood pressure meds, which he fills and dutifully takes. Blood pressure and kidneys are related, right?

 

A few days later, he’s called by the nephrologist’s office and is sent for bloodwork ahead of his appointment. It takes the nurse two tries to get his vein, and he’s sure the bruise looks great on his arm. He makes sure to not roll his sleeves up that week so Foggy won’t notice.

 

He hasn’t mentioned any of this to Foggy yet.

 

 


 

 

He never really means to keep secrets from Foggy, but things just tend to snowball in his life.

 

It was how the whole Daredevil thing happened. He never meant to not tell Foggy that he was sometimes a vigilante, but if he wanted to talk about that, he’d have to mention his abilities, and that was just a whole thing he didn’t want to get into. So he just didn’t tell Foggy about anything related to that until he collapsed on his floor and woke up with Foggy in the room, understandably upset.

 

That’s something Matt never wants to repeat, which is what his brain keeps telling him every time he pointedly doesn’t tell Foggy something else, like this whole kidney issue.

And then he just…. Doesn’t.

 

(There are more things he doesn’t tell Foggy, things that he doesn’t even let himself think, because if he doesn’t think about it, doesn’t acknowledge it, then he’s not keeping anything from Foggy, just from himself.)

Chapter Text

The nephrologist introduces herself as Dr Nadiya. She asks Matt about his symptoms, the same thing his other doctor had already gone through, and checks his blood pressure.

“He put me on a medication,” Matt tells her. “I’ve been taking it.”

She makes a note. “Yes, and it’s improved since your other visit, which was… two weeks ago?”

Matt nods.

“That’s good. It’s still a bit high, but the dose can be increased if it’s working well.”

 

She checks his chart for a minute, and then sits down across from him.

“Based on the ultrasound, it looks like there are cysts in your kidneys.”

Matt doesn’t know much, but he knows that can’t be good.

“Additionally, the blood and urine tests also point towards kidney issues. Your original urine sample at your doctor’s office showed signs of an infection, but I believe that was cleared up with antibiotics?”

Matt nods.

“Good. The high blood pressure also points towards a certain condition, and the ultrasound is very specific for diagnosis. It’s called polycystic kidney disease. The disease is passed on genetically, and the kind you have is likely the dominant version, so either one of your parents would have had it. Normally when a person is diagnosed with this disease, they know to look out for it in their children. Do either of your parents have kidney problems?”

Matt shakes his head. “My dad is dead, and I don’t remember my mother.”

“Did your father die from kidney disease?”

Matt chokes back a laugh. “No, he was murdered. I guess he could have had kidney disease, but it’s not like we’d know.”

“Ah. I’m sorry.”

Matt shakes his head. “It was a long time ago.”

“So you are right that he could have been affected, but hadn’t shown any symptoms yet. Normally, most people present with symptoms around their 40s or later, but there are wide variations. Some people can go their entire lives without symptoms, and other are diagnosed as children and require dialysis in their teens.”

“What does this mean for me? Will I need dialysis?”

He wasn’t entirely sure what dialysis consisted of, but just imagined himself hooked up to a large machine for hours of every day.

“You may eventually, but not at this point. Your kidney function is still relatively good. What’s more of a concern is your blood pressure, since that can further contribute to kidney damage and accelerate the progression of the disease.”

“So more medication?” Matt guesses.

“Yes, I’m going to increase the dose you’re on. I want you to check in with your doctor in about a month to make sure it’s working. If you experience side effects with that one, we can switch, or go back to the current dose and see about adding another medication, but let’s not make problems for ourselves. ”

 

She scribbles out a prescription and hands it to him before sitting down across from him.

“I’m going to go into a basic explanation of the disease, but feel free to stop me if you don’t understand something or have any questions. I know it will probably be a lot to take in, which is why we usually send patients home with some literature and pamphlets.”

She pauses. “I don’t think we have any in braille,” she continues, apologetic.

“I have a friend who can read them to me.”

“Okay, so we’ll give you those. There is also a lot of information online, as long as you make sure to look at reputable sources. That information will also be in the brochures. What do you do for work?”

“I’m a lawyer.”

“So you’re probably well versed in how to find reliable sources of information.”

Matt grins. “I’d like to think so, yeah.”

“It’s also good to know that you aren’t in a job that has a high risk of trauma or harm, since you can be at risk of bleeding because of this condition.”

“Like if I was a professional football player?”

She laughs. “Yes. I’d have to recommend you retire if that were the case.”

“What about sports? I do a lot of boxing.”

“Against other people, or solo?”

“Uh, both.”

“I would suggest avoiding boxing with other people. I’m going to be honest, I don’t know how much of a contact sport boxing is, but I’d imagine with other people hitting you, there’s a risk.”

Matt nods. “Okay. No more boxing with opponents. Got it.”

He was lying, of course.

 

By the time he leaves, his head has been flooded with information and he’s staggering under the weight of it. He’s been given an updated prescription, told to schedule another appointment with his doctor to recheck his blood pressure, and a host of information regarding what to do if he experiences certain symptoms.

 

The pain in his abdomen seems more present as he tries to fall asleep that evening, as if knowing its cause somehow contributed to it.

Chapter Text

He tries to read the pamphlets with his fingers first, but the pamphlets are glossy and beyond his abilities. Then he uses the app on his phone, but it doesn’t do the best with what must be columns and different colours.

 

So the next time Foggy comes over, he leaves them casually scattered on the coffee table.

 

“Matty, what are these?” he asks.

“Some light reading material.”

Foggy is glaring at him. He can tell.

Matt tries to smile at him.

“Matthew. Why do you have pamphlets about kidney disease on your coffee table.”

Matt just keeps standing there, trying to smile at him.

“Did you want me to help you read them?”

He nods.

Foggy sighs and collapses into the couch. Matt sits next to him, considerably more neatly.

 

“’What does a kidney do?’” he reads. “Do you want me to skip that part?”

Matt nods.

“’What is autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease?’ Or ADPKD. I’m gonna call it that because that’s a lot of words. ‘ADPKD is an inherited condition in which fluid filled cysts develop and grow in both kidneys. People with ADPKD may develop a few cysts, but if you have ADPKD you are likely to develop multiple cysts, sometimes hundreds.’ Holy shit Matt.”

“Can you keep reading?” he asks softly.

“Matty. Buddy. I know you don’t just have these for leisure reading, and I can only assume this is your way of trying to talk about it. Are you sick?”

“I mean. Not really. I do have this kidney thing, but it’s still early stage, so I don’t feel sick.”

Foggy nods. “Okay. ‘Most people with ADPKD have inherited a faulty gene from one parent and a normal gene from the other parent.’”

 

Matt sits back in the couch and listens as Foggy reads about the types of ADPKD, how it’s diagnosed, symptoms (some of which he remembers experiencing, then dismissing as unimportant), and what will eventually happen to him.

 

“’By the age of 60, 40-50% of people with ADPKD will develop kidney failure and need dialysis or a kidney transplant.’ That doesn’t seem like a huge percentage, or even that much of an issue for you right now. It’s ages away.”

 

Matt doesn’t say anything. He doesn’t know what.

 

“The next section is about other problems that you can also have. I’m going to paraphrase, cause they’re bullet points and some of them are not that short, which is like the opposite of how bullet points should work. So, high blood pressure-”

“-have it-”

“-urine infections-”

“-had one-”

“-colonic diverticulosis, weakness and swelling of blood vessels in the brain that can lead to aneurysms, holy shit, dehydration, leaky heart valves, and development of cysts in other organs.” He sets the pamphlet down and looks over at Matt. “You sure you’re okay?”

“I only have the first one.”

“Yeah, you and like, half the people I know. It’s the rest of these that are more concerning. Brain aneurysms are like, a huge thing.”

“I’m fine,” Matt promises.

“That’s not something you can guarantee. You don’t have control over this.” Foggy sighs and just sits there for a minute. Matt’s trying to think of something to say when Foggy keeps reading.

“’When should I call for help?’ Oh, pay close attention to this section. I know the idea of calling for help is foreign to you, but you might wanna take note. ‘Blood in your urine. Symptoms of a urine infection: pain, fever, pain, cloudy or smelly urine. Symptoms of a kidney stone: severe pain in your side that comes in waves. Symptoms of a brain hemorrhage: sudden and severe headache with neck stiffness, feeling sick, symptoms of a stroke, confusion, and discomfort in bright light.’ Well the last one is irrelevant, and also if you’re confused I don’t think you’ll remember to call a doctor or something, but yeah.”

Matt hums, and Foggy flips through the remaining pages.

 

“Bad news Matt, you’re going to have to eat a healthy diet and quit smoking. I know this will be very difficult for you, but it is for the good of your health.”

Matt throws himself across the length of the couch, which leaves him draped over Foggy’s legs like a fainting damsel.

“It will be punishingly difficult,” he sighs, throwing an arm across his face, “but with your help, I think I can manage.”

“You’re also supposed to avoid anti inflammatory painkillers, which is a fucking joke because I don’t think you’ve ever taken painkillers in your adult life, ditto with medications, which is the next point, followed by-”

He stops suddenly.

“What?”

“’Avoid contact sports’,” Foggy reads softly.

“Oh. I already talked with my doctor about that,” Matt says, wiggling around on Foggy’s bony knees to make himself more comfortable.

“And you’re going to do it?”

Matt doesn’t answer, which is answer enough in itself. Foggy shoves him off his knees.

“You didn’t say that to your doctor though, did you,” he accuses. It’s not a question because he already knows the answer.

“You know I can’t stop,” Matt whispers, folding himself back into the opposite end of the couch.

There’s a hand around his wrist, beckoning him back. He lets himself be pulled, and Foggy meets him in the middle of the couch, resting their foreheads together.

“Listen Matty. I know that there is something inside you that you think will break if you don’t do this, that you feel like you owe it to every person in this city to always be there for them, for Daredevil to always be there for them, but sometimes I think you forget that without Matt, there is no Daredevil. So Matt needs to take care of himself. I can’t make you stop, and I don’t think I could either, and that path… I think if I try to go down that one it’ll just be dark for both of us. So all I’m asking is that you take care of yourself. Because whether you believe it or not, this city needs Matt a hell of a lot more than it needs Daredevil.”

 

Matt nods, his eyes shut tightly against the tears that threaten to spill out. “Okay.”

 

Foggy pulls him into a hug and they end up pressed against each other on the couch as Foggy continues reading him the pamphlets.

 

 


 

 

He does think about stopping. He thinks about what Foggy said, and even what he didn’t say. He didn’t say that he needed Matt more than he needed Daredevil. Matt thinks he wanted to, but instead framed it as the city needing him as one rather than the other. But why didn’t he say that then? Does Foggy think that Matt holds the needs of the city above Foggy? Surely Foggy knows that isn’t true.

He should know that Matt is more willing to do things for Foggy than he is for the city, no matter how much he tries to claim otherwise.

 

So if Foggy didn’t say it, maybe it was because what he said was true. This was about the city.

 

For some reason, the thought makes him unsettled and itching to hurt someone. So he does what he has been told not to do, by both his doctor and his best friend, albeit not in the same words.

He puts on the suit and goes to pick a fight.

 

He manages it well enough for weeks, months. He doesn’t get hit, and is free enough of bruises that he can show his face in the office without Foggy loudly glaring at him. Foggy doesn’t comment on the newspaper articles that pop up, detailing his occasional victories. If they both ignore it, they don’t have to talk about it.

He goes back to the doctor, finds out his blood pressure is in a range that apparently makes them happy, and makes a follow-up appointment in six months.

 

It’s fine. He’s fine.

Chapter Text

He’s rescuing a woman from a would be rapist when the asshole elbows him in the side and the pain is instant and blinding. The woman has run off, and after he elbowed Matt, the man ran off as well in the other direction. Matt takes a minute on the ground, curled around his side, trying to catch his breath. The sharpness of the pain fades a little, but remains constant.

 

He heads home after that. He kicks off the suit, leaving it on the floor, and after reconsidering, kicks it under the bed. He dry swallows two Vicodin from the prescription that had been given to him shortly after his diagnosis, which he thought he’d never need, and falls into bed, curling around the pain in his abdomen and hoping it passes by the morning.

 

He sleeps restlessly, for maybe 2 hours out of the night, and by the time his alarm goes off, the pain has only increased despite the meds. He toys with the idea of going to the doctor, and decides to wait until after he gets dressed to decide.

 

When his urine is full of blood, he supposes that makes his decision for him.

“I’m not going to make it in this morning,” Matt tells Foggy over the phone while pulling his socks on.

“You sick?”

“Sort of,” he admits. “I think I fucked up one of my kidneys. Figured I’d get it checked out.”

“Matty, if you’re admitting this, it’s gotta be bad. Are you okay?”

“I mean, it hurts a ton, but I don’t think I’m gonna die, if that’s what you’re asking.”

Foggy makes a concerned noise.

Matt sighs. “I’ll call you later and let you know how I’m doing.”

“You better.”

 

He struggles to get the rest of his clothes on and wishes again that his apartment had an elevator as he painstakingly makes his way down the stairs.

 

The nurse at triage makes tutting noises at his vital signs, and Matt can’t determine whether that’s a good or bad thing. The pain is making him lightheaded and he desperately wants to sleep. He struggles with the name of the kidney disorder (“Cystic kidney disease? It’s the dominant one. I’m sorry I should have gotten it written down.”) and also manages to remember his nephrologist.

 

He goes to stand up when the nurse is finished with him and finds that the room fades out for a second, only returning when he finds himself back in the chair again.

 

Things move a bit quicker after that. He’s on a bed with an IV in his arm within ten minutes. Along with the fluids, he’s given pain meds, and the pain in his side and back uncurls a little bit. Someone palpates his side, and the pain spikes again. There’s an ultrasound wand pressed to him, and even the medication isn’t enough to stop him from clenching his teeth.

 

The fuzziness that the pain medication affords him means he doesn’t care too much about the people talking over him.  He’s told he needs a scan, and his bed is moved through whatever space he’s in. Three dimensions have stopped making sense, and the only things that exist are the scratchy sheets he’s pressed up against and the plastic pillow.

 

He’s made to lie flat and told to stay still while a machine moves around him. The noise would probably be overwhelming if he wasn’t miles away.

 

Space moves around him and he’s returned to a bed, a curtain, a cubicle.

 

He is told the doctor will be in to talk to him soon, and Matt wonders how long he’s been there. Wonders if the passage of time is still the same as before he entered the hospital.

 

His phone, somewhere nearby, announces Foggy is calling him.

Matt reaches out into the abyss, beyond the two dimensions that his body is touching, and manages to locate it out of pure dumb luck.

 

“Foggy?”

“Hey Matty. I know you said you were going to call me, but I just worry, you know, it’s not that I don’t trust you to let me know what’s going on, most of the time anyway, but I just wanted to be sure. So?”

“So?” Matt echoes.

“So how are you?”

“Two dimensional,” Matt says, because that’s all that comes to mind.

There’s a beat of silence. “Okay I’m going to need you to explain that one.”

“They gave me painkillers after I almost passed out at triage, although I think that was from low blood pressure and not pain,” Matt explains.

Foggy sighs, and Matt can imagine that he’s holding his head in one of his hands, the phone held in the other.

“Which hospital?” he finally asks.

“Same one.”

“I’ll be there soon, okay?” he promises.

Matt smiles as Foggy hangs up.

 

He drifts a bit more, and then Foggy is there.

“You look rough buddy,” he says sympathetically. “How are you feeling?”

“The drugs are nice. So not much pain.”

“So what is wrong? You said something about your kidney?”

“Oh. Yeah I was peeing blood. A lot of it. And the pain. That’s something I was told to go to the hospital for. The both of them at once.”

“And you did. Wow. I’m proud.”

Matt thinks Foggy is mocking him, but can’t hear his heartbeat to tell.

 

“Mr Murdock? I’m Dr Emilio. I work here in the ER. We’ve contacted your nephrologist with the results of your scans. It appears you’ve ruptured one of the cysts in your right kidney, which is causing the bleeding and the pain.”

“Okay,” he says. He’s not sure if more of a response is expected of him.

“What kind of treatment is there for that? Will he need surgery?” Foggy asks.

Matt’s thankful that someone is doing the work.

“Not unless the bleeding doesn’t stop. We’re going to admit him for fluids and pain medication, and keep an eye on the bleeding. If it doesn’t stop or slow down, he might need a procedure to close the blood vessels in that area. He’s going to be admitted under the care of his nephrologist, and she will be making sure he won’t need any further interventions.”

He pauses, making sure they aren’t going to ask for clarifications or something.

“Do you have any questions Mr Murdock?”

Matt shakes his head and the world moves dizzily around him.

“Okay, well if you do, let one of the nurses know and I’ll do my best to answer them. We’re just waiting on a bed upstairs, and it shouldn’t be more than an hour before you’re admitted.”

 

He doesn’t know how long it is before his bed is moving through space again. Not long enough for the painkillers to wear off, evidently. There are hallways and elevators and he swears he gets spun in a circle before the journey seems to come to an end. There’s another person in the room, but he can’t tell much more than that.

“Oh, you’ve got a roommate,” Foggy comments. “That’s nice.”

 

The nurse bustling around Matt ignores him, checking things that Matt can’t decipher with his head all fogged up.

Finally she stands in front of him. “Your doctor left an order to monitor your urine output. You’re going to need a catheter put in.” Addressing Foggy, she tells him, “Sir, you’re going to have to leave.”

 

Foggy leaves the room faster than Matt thinks he might have ever moved in his life. He wishes he could do the same.

Chapter Text

Apparently he’s still peeing blood. He’s not shocked by that information, although it would have been a nice surprise if he had stopped. If this whole thing was just blown out of proportion and that he really just needed to rest at home. He’s not that lucky though.

 

The nurse leaves, and Foggy is allowed back in the room.

 

“I think you set a new land speed record,” Matt tells him.

“Well, you know, privacy and all that,” Foggy says, gesturing vaguely. He lowers his voice. “Uh, I think your roommate is like 90 years old and quite possibly completely deaf. So if he kicks it during the night, don’t be too surprised.”

“Really Foggy?”

Foggy shrugs.

“At this rate I might not even notice,” Matt says. “I’m still very drugged.”

“For once in your life,” Foggy sighs, dropping into the bedside chair.

“What can I say? I’ve turned a corner. And apparently I’m very sensitive to narcotics because of my lack of exposure.” He considers it. “Also I don’t think I mentioned that I took Vicodin last night.”

Foggy very audibly drops his face into his hands and mutters something that Matt can’t make out.

Matt decides it’s probably not important.

 

He thinks he falls asleep for a bit, and is woken up by the nurse putting a blood pressure cuff around his arm.

 

He declines the pain meds the next time they’re offered, and an hour later, regrets that decision. Foggy is watching him from the bedside.

“You know it wasn’t a one time offer, right? You can ask a nurse and they’ll give you the meds.”

“I know, but I hate the way they make me feel, like I’m… disconnected and floating. Everything is dull and fuzzy.”

“Yeah, and how is that working out for you right now?” Foggy asks as Matt winces against another stab of pain.

“Maybe a lower dose,” he cedes.

“I’ll get the nurse,” Foggy tells him, standing up and stretching. Too many of his joints pop and Matt makes a face.

“Don’t,” he warns, and Matt just smiles instead.

 

Foggy disappears down the hallway.

 

He returns with a nurse who injects something into his IV. Matt hopes it’s a lower dose.

 

He must have fallen asleep after that, because he wakes up at some point, still feeling the heavy influence of the drugs as well as the pain again. He’s not an expert, but he’s pretty sure one is supposed to prevent the other. He’s also managed to get a headache despite the painkillers, which is definitely unfair.

 

“Foggy?” he calls softly into the room. He’s pretty sure his friend isn’t there. He can’t hear his heartbeat, and even through the haze of the drugs could probably pick up on the presence of another person.

Well, aside from the very old roommate on the other side of the curtain. No one other than him.

 

He’s sure there’s something he could be doing to find a nurse, or anyone really, but it seems like a lot of work.

 

He sleeps more, or maybe just drifts, because he hears as soon as Foggy gets back, the smell of coffee accompanying him.

 

“Oh hey, you awake?” Foggy says. “I ran to get a snack and some coffee. You’ve been asleep for most of the day.”

Matt frowns.

“You okay?”

Matt lifts a hand up to his head and almost misses. He thinks he’s dizzy, but doesn’t want to check. “I feel bad,” he mumbles.

“Yeah, no shit,” Foggy tells him, grabbing at something next to him on the bed. “You look like a ghost.”

Matt isn’t really sure what that’s supposed to mean, except it seems important.

 

He might miss a few steps, because there’s a nurse taking his blood pressure again, and he didn’t notice her show up. Someone is taking blood from his arm. Someone is sticking tubing on his face and he tries to bat it away but his hands are gently pulled back to rest on the sheets.

“It’s okay Matt, they’re trying to help you.”

“Foggy?” he asks.

“Yeah. You’re bleeding more.”

Matt’s hand reaches out, grasping for something, and Foggy grabs it. With the contact, Matt finally feels tethered, like he’s not going to spin off into the universe if he closes his eyes now.

 

“Matt, it’s Dr Nadiya. Your blood tests show that you’re still bleeding and you’re losing too much blood. We’re giving you a transfusion, but we need to get the bleeding to stop. We’re going to perform a procedure to try and make the vessels stop bleeding. If that doesn’t work, we might have to take the kidney out completely. Do you understand?”

He doesn’t, not entirely, but he nods anyway.

 

The pain sparks, and then it and he both fade.

Chapter Text

He blinks and that somehow makes his ears start working again, because a rush of noise hits him all at once.

“Matt, are you feeling any pain?”

He considers it. He’s not entirely sure if he’s feeling anything. That has to be good, right? He’s not sure. He’s also not sure what the question was, so he closes his eyes instead of responding.

 

 


 

 

He blinks and it feels familiar.

“Oh good, you’re awake. I was getting worried.”

Foggy. Matt can place his voice immediately. What he doesn’t know is why he was worried. Did he do something to worry Foggy? He doesn’t remember.

“Are you awake or are you just opening your eyes before falling back asleep again. It’s okay if you are.”

“What?” he mumbles.

“Oh that’s new. Hey Matty. You’re in the hospital. You had to have a procedure done because your kidney was bleeding. Do you remember?”

 

He has a vague recollection of pain and sleeping and waking up only to feel worse.

“Is it better?”

“Oh yeah, the procedure was apparently very successful. You’ve been sleeping it off for a while now. Apparently your tolerance for pain meds is super low.”

Matt hums. He certainly feels like he’s on a lot of pain meds. It’s not unpleasant, especially if he’s had surgery recently, because he can’t feel anything.

“But they were able to do the less invasive procedure, which is great, because it means you still have your kidney.”

Matt nods. He is kinda attached to it, even if it doesn’t work that great and hurts a bunch of the time.

“I think I’ll sleep some more,” he tells Foggy.

“Sounds good buddy. I might not be here when you wake up, because the nurses seem to want to kick me out, but I’ll be back as soon as I can, okay?”

“Of course,” Matt mumbles, and he’s already falling asleep, but still notices when Foggy’s hand lets go of his.

Even unconscious, a part of him misses Foggy.

 

 


 

 

The painkillers start wearing off at some point, and he has no clue what time it is, because hospitals seem to exist outside the linear concept of time. Even if he wasn’t blind, there are always lights on, always people in the hallway talking, always someone somewhere crying. If he was told the time, he wouldn’t know if it was am or pm.

 

His kidney isn’t the only thing that hurts then, there’s also a bandage on his thigh covering some sort of incision. The headache he had earlier that day, or maybe yesterday, is gone, and he realizes it was probably something to do with shock rather than an actual headache. Looking back, there were a few things he should have noticed and acted on, but if he was in shock, it certainly wasn’t his fault for going to sleep and ignoring them.

He just wouldn’t tell Foggy that.

 

Not telling Foggy things was different than keeping secrets.

(How is he such a terrible fucking liar? Lawyers were supposed to be good at lying, and with the addition of a secret identity, Matt should be better at it by now. Because he wasn’t even fooling himself with that one.)

Chapter Text

He’s released from the hospital a few days later with orders to rest and continue taking his blood pressure medication. Matt gave them a story about slipping on the stairs and falling onto his back, which he thinks they believed.

Foggy is less easy to fool.

 

He’s just gotten settled on his couch after the punishing climb up the stairs, when Foggy sits on the coffee table and stares at him.

“So, did you learn your lesson about ‘contact sports’?” he asks, making air quotes as he says it.

Matt closes his eyes and tries to push past the panic in his chest. He’s tried to explain it to Foggy before, the overwhelming knowledge that he can’t stop being Daredevil, despite the risks to his health.

“I know,” Matt says. “I know.” He sighs. “I’m trying.”

“I know you’re trying,” Foggy says softly. “I just worry about how well you’re doing at it.”

Matt nods, his eyes closed like it will somehow help him block out the desperation in his friend’s voice.

“Cause I love you too much for you to die of some stupid kidney thing because you turn 40, okay?” Foggy says kindly.

Matt aches a little with how earnestly he says it.

 

He will die one day, whether it’s from kidney failure or an infection or getting shot, or maybe something that he hasn’t even considered yet, and the worst thing about that is that Foggy will be left behind, never knowing how much he meant to Matt.

 

A voice that sounds suspiciously like Father Lantom whispers well what if does know? What if you tell him?

And Matt is just medicated enough to entertain the thought.

 

“Oh shit, please don’t cry,” Foggy says, and Matt hadn’t even realized he was, but his hands come away wet from his cheeks. Foggy is on the couch with him now, heart racing nervously at the thought of having made him cry, when it’s just the opposite.

“I’m okay,” he says. Even he doesn’t believe it. “I don’t want to die without you knowing how important you are to me.”

“Oh Matty,” Foggy breathes. “You’re not going to die. I’m sorry I said that.”

Matt shakes his head because Foggy still isn’t getting it. “I will die eventually, and I’m afraid that if I don’t say it now, I might never say it, because I’m still medicated and afraid and you’re sitting right there and you mean so much to me and I don’t ever want to think about the possibility of me dying without having told you that I love you.”

“Oh Matty. Of course I know that.”

Matt shakes his head emphatically. “No. Not like that. Like this,” he says, and his hands are on Foggy’s cheeks and he’s kissing Foggy desperately, because he could lose his nerve at any second and this might be the most important thing he’s ever done in his life.

 

There’s a split second where his heart stops, because Foggy doesn’t do anything, doesn’t lean in or away, doesn’t seem to react, and Matt wonders if he’s ruined their friendship forever, if he’s fucked this up beyond repair, but it’s only a split second.

Because Foggy kisses back.

 

 


 

 

Foggy insists on making French toast while Matt supervises from the couch the next morning, because as he reminds Matt, “You’re supposed to be taking it easy.”

 

So instead Matt just sits there with a stupid grin on his face, because he’s less high on painkillers and the truth still remains that he kissed Foggy and Foggy kissed him back and then spent the night without the pretense of both of them being drunk.

 

Foggy hums to himself as he cooks, and possibly knowing that Matt is paying close attention to him, starts dancing a bit too.

Matt helpfully tells him when the French toast is ready to be flipped, and crosses his fingers as Foggy tosses it up in the air. The first slice makes it back to the pan intact, but something goes wrong with the second slice, and there is just a wet noise as it hits the brick wall.

“Huh,” Foggy says quietly.

Matt pretends to be busy with his phone.

 

“Are we dating now?” Foggy asks him over breakfast. He shoves half a piece of bread in his mouth after asking so Matt can’t even ask for clarification or pretend to not understand.

“If you want to,” he replies.

“Matt,” Foggy says seriously, his mouth half full of dough. “I’ve wanted to date you ever since I met you and your dumb wounded duckling face.”

Matt beams.

Chapter Text

They both take the weekend off, and go into work on Monday, despite Foggy’s urging for Matt to take another day off at home.

 

Karen can somehow tell immediately when they step in the office.

“Finally!” she exclaims. “People owe me money.”

Matt frowns. “Who?”

Karen shrugs. “Brett. Marci. Matt’s priest. The guy at the coffee shop down the street.”

“Okay, we get it,” Foggy tells her. “Glad we could be of assistance.”
“I’d split it with you, but I’m going to give myself a bonus instead.”

“Sounds fair enough.”

 

On a more serious note, she stops by Matt’s office later in the morning, closing the door gently and sitting down on the couch.

“I’m glad you’re okay. Foggy was pretty scared when he called and said you were headed to surgery. I think that was the first time it really hit him.”

Matt had told Karen about his kidney disease not long after he’d told Foggy. It was easier with her, which he was thankful for.

“Thanks,” he says, because he doesn’t know what else to say.

Karen leans in closer, even though Matt could hear her from across the office, and she knows it.

“And let me be clear, I’m glad you’re dating, because it’s honestly taken too damn long for you guys to get your heads out of your asses and talk to each other, but if you hurt him, I don’t care who you are. You’ll regret it.”

Matt is a little bit alarmed, because she’s not lying. She believes it. Whether she could make it happen is another story, but he still doesn’t want to risk it.

“Noted. I’m assuming you’ll be telling Foggy the same thing?”

She scoffs. “I will, but without as many threats. I’ve known the two of you long enough to know that he’s not the self-sabotaging one in relationships.” She softens a bit. “You’ll both be good for each other. But you can’t do your sacrificial bullshit if you want a relationship to work out, okay?”

She stands up from the couch and comes around Matt’s desk to give him a kiss on the cheek.

“Maybe your priest can give you some advice on that. I’ll be sure to let him know you might be stopping by when I collect his money.”

She smirks at him and returns to her own desk, leaving Matt in awe of her sheer audacity.

 

 


 

 

He doesn’t go out that week. He still has sutures in his leg where they had to insert the catheter that travelled to his kidney and stopped the bleeding. Instead he spends nights with Foggy, waking up in an embrace or with a leg throw over top of him.

 

He loves it.

Chapter Text

“So I’m guessing Karen came to collect,” Matt says that weekend when he goes to see Father Lantom. It’s late, so they’re the only two in the church.

“She did indeed. Very pleased with herself, and I have to say, I’m happy for you.”

“Did you bet that Foggy and I wouldn’t be in a relationship?”

“Oh no,” Father Lantom chuckles. “I had bet her it would be months ago. You cost me $20.”

“Pretty sure you shouldn’t be betting about those sorts of things,” Matt grumbles. “Isn’t it against the spirit of the church?”

Father Lantom waves a hand. “What’s the worst they could do? Fire me?”

 

They both sit quietly in the grandness of the church.

 

“I nearly died,” Matt admits. “I’ve nearly died before, but for some reason, this time it made me realize I didn’t want to die without telling him.”

“Is it going to change anything?”

Matt considers the question and decides he doesn’t want to pretend to misunderstand.

“I want to say yes. And it does, because it makes it that much harder for me, because I know he doesn’t want me to, because I know that he’ll be waiting for me to get home safely. But at the same time, I can’t just sleep next to him while hearing the sirens and the screams and the calls for help.” His fingers are digging into his palms, and he consciously works to relax. “But every time I try to tell him I can’t explain it and just get frustrated, and he gets upset, and I know he’s right, because he so often is. I just can’t convey that.”

“Have you told him that yet?” Father Lantom asks, despite already knowing the answer.

Matt doesn’t answer, just turns towards the front of the church and prays for understanding.

 

 


 

 

“Please tell me you’re not doing what I think you’re doing,” Foggy says later that week, having discovered Matt changing into his Daredevil outfit in the dark.

“Three girls have gone missing this week. The police think they’re being used for sex trafficking, but haven’t left the country yet. I can’t sit here and let that happen.”

“And why can’t the police do their job? Why does it always have to be you?”

“Believe me Foggy, I would love it if someone else would do it, could do it. But they can’t. The police are limited by the law, and no one else does things the way I do. There isn’t exactly a long line of vigilantes waiting for their turn.”

“But why you?” Foggy asks desperately.

Matt shrugs, turning away so Foggy can’t see his face. “Because no one else will. And I can’t live with that.”

 

He takes the stairs two at a time and flings himself off the roof, catching a nearby fire escape with his grappling hook, and swinging across the street. Once out of view of the apartment, he crouches behind a water tower and tries to calm down. He can’t be emotional for this.

He can’t.

 

 


 

 

He’s home by 3am, the three missing girls safely in police custody on their way to the hospital. One of the men responsible was lucky enough to be heading straight to the police station, and the other four had various injuries and fractures, and were instead also headed to the hospital.

 

Matt will probably have a black eye in the morning, and some assorted bruises, but nothing too bad.

 

He’s half expecting Foggy to be waiting up to make sure he’s okay, or yell at him, maybe both, but the apartment is empty.

 

He’s kind of shocked.

 

He showers quickly, and takes an icepack to bed, hoping to minimize the face bruising enough that Karen wouldn’t try to put makeup on him at the office.

 

He doesn’t sleep.

Chapter Text

“You look like a pile of lukewarm garbage,” Karen tells him the next day. She digs in her desk drawer for the makeup that Matt knows is there.

“Good morning to you too.”

Karen pushes him into his chair and gets to work covering up the bruise that the ice didn’t manage to prevent.

“Someone punched you,” she guessed. “I’m guessing that didn’t happen during the daylight hours. And because Foggy didn’t arrive with you, I’m guessing he also didn’t spend the night. Your first fight?”

“We’ve had many fights before,” Matt mumbles.

“As a couple,” she clarifies, blending concealer on his cheek.

“I guess.”

“You should apologize,” she tells him. “You know how much he worries. He probably didn’t get much sleep last night either.”

Matt grumbles.

Karen pauses. “Those missing girls?” she asks.

“Yeah,” Matt says softly.

Karen nods and finishes blending the makeup. “I’ll see what I can do,” she tells him.

“Thank you Karen,” he says.

“I know,” she replies.

 

 


 

 

Matt puts his headphones on when Foggy gets to work so he can’t hear the conversation between him and Karen. He does hear when Foggy lets himself into Matt’s office and closes the door behind him.

Matt removes the headphones.

“I’m sorry,” he says immediately, right as Foggy tries to speak. “Shit. You go.”

“I was worried,” Foggy admits. “I hate having to worry. And I know that if you didn’t go out, I wouldn’t have to worry. But I also know that I can’t make you do anything, and that I shouldn’t, even if I really, desperately, want to.”

He pauses, shifting uncomfortably, but Matt knows he’s not finished.

“Karen told me you saved those girls. I can’t even begin to tell you how proud of you I am for that. I want to run around the streets telling everyone that my boyfriend was the one who saved those girls, and that he’s amazing and wonderful and deserves the world, but I obviously can’t do that.”

“Yeah please don’t,” Matt agrees.

“But I don’t want to go to sleep at night knowing that he’s out there fighting criminals, not knowing if he’ll come home safely. Not knowing if you’ll come home safely.”

“I know,” Matt says softly. “But I don’t know how to fix it.”

“I don’t know either,” Foggy admits. “But I want to figure it out.”

 

In between clients that afternoon, they work out a loose contract that specifies when Matt will do his Daredeviling, the circumstances under which he is absolutely not allowed to go out, and Foggy’s veto power.

 

They’re both pretty happy with it, and Matt doesn’t go out until the following weekend after there have been an alarming number of overdoses due to drug contamination. He gets home at 4:17am, covered in some sort of chemical intermediary, but with the drug production shut down for good.

Foggy is waiting up for him. That’s not part of the agreement, but he doesn’t seem to be willing, or even able, to sleep when Matt isn’t there.

Matt gets that.

 

 


 

 

He talks to Melvin about upgrades to his costume that would cushion his back and sides around his kidneys so that no one can get in a lucky shot again. It takes a bit to work out a balance between movement and armor, but Melvin is amazing at what he does, and Matt knows that even if he has to sacrifice some of his agility, it’s worth it.

Plus, that was one of the stipulations Foggy put into the contract.

Chapter Text

The dose of blood pressure medication is increased at his next appointment, but otherwise he is apparently in good health, considering. His doctor talks for a bit about dietary changes, keeping a low sodium diet, and Matt nods in all the correct places, not bothering to explain he already had a relatively healthy diet, and even if he didn’t, makes up for it with exercise.

 

His doctor gives him a few things to look out for, beyond the symptoms that Dr Nadiya told him about, like leg swelling that could indicate he’s retaining fluid.

“Not that you should be having those symptoms any time soon,” his doctor assured him. “Those are symptoms of later stages of kidney failure, and I believe last time you were assessed, were stage 1 or 2. I believe the procedure you had reduced the functional tissue of your right kidney a bit?”

Matt hadn’t known that. He shrugs.

“You should still have years before you reach end stage kidney failure, decades even,” his doctor assures him. “I just thought you needed to be aware.”

“Yes,” Matt agrees.

 

He tells Foggy about his doctor’s concerns and symptoms to look out for, but doesn’t tell him that he’s lost some of his kidney because of the procedure to save his life. It was his own fault, after all, and doesn’t want to have to face that fact, not again, not now that he knows the long term consequences.

 

 


 

 

They go on holiday that summer, out of New York. They give Karen two weeks off and rent a house in Virginia, near Accomac. They spend days at the beach and spend nights watching movies that Foggy narrates in increasingly ridiculous ways. They cook dinner together and nearly ruin the kitchen with their attempt at ratatouille, which Foggy declares was way oversold by that Disney movie. They order pizza that day instead.

 

Matt gets sunburnt on the very first day, which Foggy laughs at, but he’s burnt by the second day. They practically bathe in aloe and slather themselves in sunscreen and float in the ocean, which is still freezing. They have sex on the beach and end up with sand everywhere for days. Everywhere. At night Matt dreams of cool waves and ridiculous sun hats and sleeping under beach umbrellas, and when he wakes up it happens for real.

He’s never been happier.

 

 


 

 

That fall they win a few major cases that should keep the lights on for at least a year, and the publicity should keep them going long after that.

Matt kisses Foggy on the steps of the courthouse and doesn’t care who sees.

Chapter Text

That year is their first Christmas together as a couple, although certainly not their first Christmas they’ve spent together. In law school, Foggy took Matt home so he wouldn’t be alone. A lot of his relatives thought they were dating then, and they kept having to dispute it. Matt wonders what they'd think if they found out they were right, just early.

He thinks a lot of people knew before he and Foggy managed to get their shit together.

 

But this is their first Christmas as a couple, and of course, the best way to celebrate that is by going to midnight mass at Matt’s Catholic Church. Surely that couldn’t go wrong.

 

“I really don’t know what I’m doing,” Foggy mutters, pulling at his collar.

“I’ve been going to church for decades and even I don’t always know what I’m doing. You know they change things sometimes? I looked completely incompetent when I said ‘and also with you’ and everyone else said ‘and with your spirit’.”

Foggy grumbles.

 

They sit near the back, where Father Lantom had helpfully tucked braille copies of the program and readings. He didn’t always do that, but would if he knew Matt was coming. Just another on the long list of things that made him amazing.

 

Someone at the front of the church is playing Christmas carols and hymns with far more seriousness than they deserve. The church fills slowly, and Matt overhears snippets of conversations, some elderly people complaining about the pews, a few children whining about their clothes, some parents quietly discussing wrapping left to be done. By 11, the church is full, and the procession begins as the choir sings the opening hymn. The music swells and fills the church, and Matt closes his eyes and lets it fill him. He’s always loved the music.

 

Father Lantom does the opening prayer, and the readings and psalms go relatively quickly in order to keep the attention of the young children who are present. The gospel is the story of Jesus’ birth, which Father Lantom spices up a bit to interest the children, and then it’s onto the homily.

 

Father Lantom stands there for a moment at the altar, looking out at them.

 

“This season is a time for love,” he begins. “It is a season for many thing: family, joy, generosity, kindness. But perhaps the root of these is love, such as the love Mary had for her son, or the love God has for us, all of his children. The bible gives us so many examples of love. Ruth and Naomi, David and Jonathan, Jacob and his sons, Noah and his wife. Love, in so many forms. None of these forms of love is better or more important than another. The love we have for a partner is just as important as the love we have for a child, a friend, a family member. The love we have for God. The greatest and first commandment tells us ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,’ but it is the second commandment that I want to talk about, because I have no doubt that all of you love God with every part of you. ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’.” He pauses for a moment. “I think it is easier to love God, because He doesn’t have dogs that bark at night or mow His lawn onto your driveway.”

There are a few chuckles.

 

“Mother Teresa once mentioned a homeless woman who died. Her final words were thanks. Mother Teresa considered what she would have done in that same situation, and thought she would call attention to herself, ask for help. But this woman instead ‘gave me her grateful love’ and then died. In her Nobel prize acceptance speech, she explained what that meant to her. She said ‘And that is why we believe what Jesus had said: I was hungry I was naked I was homeless I was unwanted, unloved, uncared for and you did it to me.’ When we help anyone, we help everyone. Loving like this is finding God hidden in the other person, like the parable that Jesus taught about finding the treasure hidden in the field. God is within all of us.” 

Father Lantom pauses and shifts, looking back out at them.

“I once heard a story of a man who was so full of love that it spilled from him. Love was evident on his face, in the way he spoke, in his open arms. He was always willing to help whoever asked. If a friend needed to move, he was there to carry furniture. If a friend needed money, he would be there with no questions asked. He donated blood, he volunteered at soup kitchens, he fundraised for the church. He gave away his belongings to those less fortunate. In this story, the man gave so generously that all he was left with was his hands. But he was infinitely loved. Corinthians tells us the important of love over all material things. ‘If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.’ Who do you think of when you hear this story? I know many people who could be the man I’m describing. We could all be this person: arms empty of material things, but hearts full of love.”

Matt can hear the smile in his voice.

“‘So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.’ Love, in all of its forms, is always the greatest,” he finishes. “May your Christmas be filled with an overabundance of love, in all of its forms.”

 

Matt can’t help but feel that Father Lantom is speaking directly to him, but then, the man has that sort of effect on everyone.

 

Matt drags Foggy with him for communion. “Just cross your arms in front of your chest,” he whispers.

He and Foggy are led to Father Lantom, where he is given a host and takes a sip of the wine that’s frankly disgusting. Behind him, Foggy receives a blessing from Father Lantom. As he turns to go back to their pew, Matt trips over the rug that someone has thrown across the altar (despite it already being carpeted, honestly, there is no need for there to be a fringed carpet that is unanchored) and nearly falls on his face. Foggy catches him, and Matt clings to his arm more than is strictly necessary. One of the altar boys rushes over to make sure he’s okay, and Matt assures him that he is, but suggests maybe not having a tripping hazard where people are walking.

 

Matt doesn’t let go of Foggy’s arm as he leads them back to their pew.

“Thank you for saving me,” he whispers. “I’ll thank you for that later. I’m not kissing you in front of all these elderly parishioners, because I’m certain it’s a sin to kill people at Christmas, even if accidental.”

“I’m holding you to that,” Foggy whispers back.

 

There are more prayers, a final blessing, and then a hymn that accompanies their exit from the church. It is fittingly enough, Joy to the World. Matt doesn’t get up right away, just sits there for a bit longer letting the music and the happiness surround him. His best friend and partner is at his side. There isn’t much more he could want.

 

As soon as they’re outside the church and away from the throngs of people, Matt kisses Foggy hard and deep, under the eyes of God and the snow that has started softly falling.