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(He's a Really Good Lawyer)

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Matt is running late the morning he meets his new neighbour. As he opens the door of his own apartment, fastening his tie in the process, he hears the creak of rusty hinges directly across the hallway. His neighbour is young, that, he can tell, and Matt can smell the blood coming from what is unmistakeably a knife wound underneath his clothes. His heartbeat is distinctly fast, and it only increases when he sees: 

 

"Mr Murdock?" Definitely young. His voice is high, and tinged with surprise and nervous recognition. He's going to be late.  

 

The kid is bleeding, and Matthew Murdock has no way of knowing that, so he tilts his head. "Have we met before? Mr..." 

 

He seems to realise something then, and there's a strange resigned note in his voice when he replies, "Oh! It's Parker. Peter Parker, and I... I guess not" He laughs nervously then, before continuing, "I... the landlord told me that you lived across from me when I moved in." Lie. Huh. 

 

He's going to be so late, but he can hear Peter Parker standing there fiddling with his shirt like he wants to say something, but doesn't know how, and he's bleeding, and Karen is going to kill him anyway, so, "Well, it's nice to meet you, Peter. Anything you need, I'm across the hall." He should really leave now, and try to make the subway, but Peter can't be more than nineteen and he's standing there bleeding in the doorway of his own apartment, so he nods and flees back into his hallway, even though he was – very clearly – just leaving. He is going to be very late, but he can't deal with the implications of the kid who is bleeding, there is a kid bleeding in the hallway of his apartment building. 

 

He is vaguely aware of the fact that Peter is now walking downstairs, hears him checking his post and finding nothing, hears him returning back upstairs with decidedly less enthusiasm, all the while bleeding from the stab wound in his chest.  

 

It takes Matt all of ten minutes sitting on the couch with his head in his hands, running through his options to grab the first aid kit under the sink and knock on Peter's door. When it opens, Peter smiles like he can't quite believe Matt is actually standing there in front of him. "Mr Murdock! Is there... is there anything I can do for you, sir?" 

 

Shit. He hasn't thought this through. "No, Peter, I..." Shit. He's not cut out for this. "There's blood on your shirt." There isn't blood on his shirt. He sighs, "I thought I'd check on you, make sure you're okay." 

 

"There isn't blood on my shirt." 

 

"So you're not bleeding?" Peter gulps. His heart is racing.  

 

"I..." 

 

"Peter," Matt sighs, and then Peter is nodding with an exhausted look in his eyes that definitely shouldn't be there, and Matt is walking into his apartment. Peter leads him to the couch and they sit down. "This is where you take off your shirt," Matt says, and Peter laughs nervously again. 

 

"Oh! Right. Do you need any... Do I need to help you look at it? You really don't need to Mr Murdock, I already cleaned it and everything, and..." Peter keeps rambling while Matt checks the wound with practiced hands, letting him talk and not really listening because Peter has been stabbed for some reason, and he patched it up himself.  

 

To his credit, the wound has been cleaned and bandaged, but Matt disinfects it, and changes the bandages anyway because Claire always tells him that 'you can't be too careful', and if this kid gets an infected stab wound, he won't be able to live with himself. By the time he's finished Peter is still talking, something about the couple downstairs who offered to help him with his boxes, and how nice they were and Matt is still sitting there in disbelief that he's been stabbed. He clears his throat. "It's mostly healed, so I don't think you'll need to go to hospital-" Peter stiffens. No hospitals. Okay. Matt moves on. "How did this happen, Peter?" He asks gently, and Peter grimaces. 

 

"Um... A mugging? I got mugged." He nods, like he's trying to convince himself of this, and Matt doesn't need enhanced hearing to know that that's a lie.  

 

"Really? Peter," He says, turning towards him, "I need you to be honest with me. If someone's hurting you-" 

 

"No! No one's hurting me, I swear, I... It was a mugging. I got stabbed during a mugging." And somehow that isn't a lie, so Matt adds this to the list that he's quickly creating in his head of Weird Things About Peter Parker and sighs. Fine. He'll work this out himself. 

 

"How old are you?" He asks. 

 

"Nineteen." Lie. 

 

"And have you got anyone to help you out if you get... mugged again?" He needs to know, needs to at least accept that this kid who is younger than nineteen and got stabbed, and patched himself up, has someone, anyone in his life who can help him. 

 

There's a pause, and Peter takes a deep breath, "...Yes." Lie again. Matt nods, and tries not to break something. Instead, he hands Peter a business card. 

 

"Like I said, if you need anything, anything, Peter. That's my law firm, if you need help with anything legal, and-" He takes out his phone, "Put your number in there."  

 

There's another long pause, in which Matt realises that the sound he's hearing is Peter furiously blinking back tears (and trying to hide it). "Thank you so much, Mr Murdock, sir, I... Thank you." he says, and he's smiling then, properly, and Matt can't help but smile back.  

 

"I'll call you later, make sure you haven’t bled out." He replies, ignoring the fact that Peter might have done just that, focusing on Peter laughing, bright and clear and so different from his nervous, awkward laughter before. 

 

"I'll try not to, Mr Murdock." 

 

"Call me Matt, Peter." 

 

"Right. Thank you, Matt." He smiles, and then Matt is picking up his cane, and Peter is leading him to the door, where he suddenly runs back to grab the first aid kit off the couch. "Don't forget-" 

 

"Keep it. That doesn't mean you clean up any more stab wounds yourself, okay?" 

 

"Wouldn't dream of it, Mr Murdock!"  

 

"Matt." 

 

"Right." 

 

"Stay safe, kid." Matt tells him as he leaves, and he prays Peter will stay safe, against all odds in the chaos of this city. What's one more person to look out for?  

 

His phone beeps as he hurries down the stairs. "Foggy. Foggy. Foggy. Foggy." Shit. He rushes to answer it. Shit. Shit. Shit. 

 

"Matt?" Foggy answers, "You better have a great excuse for being over an hour late, I'm pretty sure Karen's losing it over here-"  

 

"Yeah, I'm really sorry," He's not sorry. "I'm definitely going to be late."