Death v Nelson & Page
The first time it happened Foggy was at home, eating Mac & Cheese straight from the pan, and wearing nothing but his boxers.
His phone started to ring and he picked it up with a weary sigh, then dragged his thumb across the screen.
"You better be bleeding out in a puddle somewhere, Murdock," Foggy said. "It's Saturday night. I could be on a date with a supermodel for all you know."
"I know you're alone, Foggy. I can hear Beauty & the Beast on the TV in the background," Matt wheezed down the line. "And actually, yeah, I think I am... Bleeding out, I mean."
"What?" Foggy snapped, jumping off the couch and starting towards the bedroom. "I was totally joking about the puddle thing. You better be lying to me or I am coming down there and killing you myself."
"I think I hit my head, Foggy. I don't feel so good," Matt murmured, and then he added, "Ugh, something smells really, really bad here."
"Forget the smell, Matt, unless you can smell what street signs say," Foggy said, as he grabbed his trousers and started pulling them on with one hand. "Where are you?"
"By the docks... Fell through a floor. Think I hit my hit my head. Can't get up."
"I need a little bit more to go on than that. Try to think. Where are you?"
"Construction site...D-down by the Lincoln Tunnel," Matt replied, sounding more breathless. "Just follow your nose. It really smells bad."
There was a click as the line went dead, and Foggy started to panic.
Surprisingly it didn't take Foggy long to find Matt, the lower half of his body trapped beneath a pile of scaffolding poles and concrete, propped up against a mound of wet sand on the lower floor of a soon to be skyscraper, and as Foggy checked him for injuries, Matt let out a low groan.
"Easy there," Foggy said. "Don't move yet."
"Foggy?" Matt whined.
"Who else would it be?" he asked, as he gently removed Matt's mask, revealing a sluggishly bleeding wound on his scalp.
"Cops, maybe," Matt mumbled, as his head drooped to one side.
"Hey, Matt, I need you to concentrate, buddy," Foggy said, lightly tapping him on the cheek. "Before I start moving this, I need to know if you're hurt anywhere? Your back maybe?"
When Matt simply hummed in response, but said no more, Foggy crouched down next to him, and asked, "Matt, I need you to wake up and tell me, is anything broken?"
Matt tilted his head, still making no effort to open his eyes, and then said, "Hairline fracture. Ribs."
"You're sure your spine is OK?" Foggy asked again. "I don't wanna go down in history as the guy who paralysed Daredevil."
"Back's fine," Matt mumbled weakly. "Bleeding."
"You're bleeding?" Foggy asked sharply. "Is it bad?"
"Yeah," Matt replied, letting his head fall back.
Foggy looked down at the pile of poles and concrete that were covering Matt's legs and noticed a small pool of blood leaking from beneath it.
"Shit!" he shouted, and leapt to his feet, grabbing hold of poles and chunks of chalky stone; throwing them to one side as he desperately tried to dig his friend out.
A sound came from Foggy's left. He paused, then turned, still clutching a scaffolding pole to his chest. His eyes went wide and he couldn't help but take a small step back.
"Uh, Matt..." Foggy said as he swallowed nervously. "I know you're blind and everything, but please tell me you can see the eight foot tall skeleton stood right in front of us."
Foggy glanced down towards the unconscious Matt, and then back up at the thing that stood opposite him.
"Hey, buddy," Foggy said nervously, as the creature pulled it's cape around itself. "You know Halloween was last month, right?"
"I am waiting," the skeleton hissed, inching closer.
"Maybe you could to go wait somewhere else?" Foggy asked. "Like, over the other side of the Hudson."
"I have come to collect what is owed to me," the skeleton said, moving closer and reaching out his bony hand. "Matthew Michael Murdock will elude me no more."
"Hey, back off!" Foggy said, holding out the scaffolding pole with wavering hands. "I don't know what kind of prank you're pulling, and I'm really praying that is just a costume made by someone way more talented than the person who made Matt's get up with the stupid horns, but if you take another step closer I will kick your ass."
"Matthew weakens," he said, gliding closer once more, and then as he closed his hand into a fist Matt let out a pained groan, as if those thin fingers had closed around his heart.
Foggy raised the scaffolding pole and smashed it down onto the creature's hand as hard as he could, and it twirled away, shrieking as it brought the damaged limb up to it's chest.
"You dare attack Death?" it screamed. "You, a mere mortal, dares to challenge me?"
"You betcha," Foggy replied, as he raised the pole once more and brought in clattering down on to the creature, who raised his arms in defence.
There was a snap as the metal connected with bone, and broke Death's arm.
"Oh, that sounded goooood," Foggy said. "Wanna go again?"
Death hesitated, cradling his damaged arm against his chest, and then he moved back a step.
"What's wrong, big guy? You scared of little ol' Foggy Nelson?" he said, as he held the pole like a baseball bat, ready to hit a home run. "You should be."
The thing looked hesitant, and then lowered his head and said, "We will meet again soon, Matthew."
"Yeah, and I'll be here waiting," Foggy shouted, as the creature vanished away into the night.
The day Karen found out that Matt Murdock was in fact the masked ninja vigilante who had been terrorising the bad guys of Hell's Kitchen was mostly uneventful. She and Foggy were working late on a case, and Matt had left earlier, claiming he had an appointment he couldn't get out of.
It was a quiet night, just the two of them, as the city outside their window slowly went to sleep, and somewhere around 11.30pm she finally found the files Foggy needed.
As she walked into his office, glancing at the papers in her hand, she stopped in the doorway, not quite believing what she was seeing.
"Did you try cutting it off?" Foggy whispered, as he tugged desperately at the zip of Daredevil's suit.
"That's kinda the point of an armoured suit, so it can't be cut," Matt whispered back.
Both of them were completely distracted and unaware of Karen's presence, until she couldn't help but blurt out, "Holy shit!"
Foggy jumped away from Matt, and quickly said, "This isn't what it looks like."
"What the hell?" Karen asked."You're Daredevil?"
"No, no, no, no," Foggy stuttered. "Matt's going to a costume party, and is just trying on his outfit, but the zipper is stuck and he needed help getting out of it."
"Really?" Karen asked. "So why is his nose bleeding?"
Foggy opened his mouth to speak, but Matt raised his hand. He sighed, and said, "Yes, I'm Daredevil, and I'm sorry I lied to you, Karen. You have every right to be angry at m-"
"Why would I be angry?" Karen asked, cutting him off. "This is so frigging cool!"
Matt was stunned into silence, and Foggy exclaimed, "What? You're OK with this?"
"Well, who wouldn't be?" She asked, bouncing on the balls of her feet. "My boss is a super cool ninja who saved my life!"
So Karen, totally OK with the whole Daredevil thing as it turned out, which was why she wasn't exactly shocked when Matt limped painfully into the office on Monday morning.
"Busy night?" she asked, raising an eyebrow.
"You could say that," Matt replied.
"What was it this time?" She said. "Stabbed? Shot?"
"I fell," Matt replied, placing his hand on the edge of Karen's desk. "It's nothing."
"Nothing, my ass," Foggy said, as he walked into the office, swinging the door shut behind him. "Did he tell you the part where he fell twenty feet through a building, impaled his leg on a chunk of metal and almost died?"
"You almost died?" Karen gasped.
"He's exaggerating," Matt said. "I'm really fine."
"Exaggerating?" Foggy asked. "I fought off the giant skeleton in a cloak, who just happened to be Death."
"What?" Karen asked, looking between them.
"You know Foggy, repeating that several times won't make it any more true," Matt said.
"Wait, What?" Karen said, looking confused. "A skeleton?"
"Oh yeah," Foggy said, as he perched on the edge of the desk. "Death himself came for Matt and I beat the shit out of him, but Scully over here denies it happened, because he was conveniently passed out at the time."
"And exactly how much did you have to drink last night, Foggy?" Matt asked, raising an eyebrow.
"You were there. You were right there," Foggy said. "How could you not see him?"
"Um, the fact that I'm blind might have something to do with it."
"See, sense, whatever," Foggy said waving a hand. "But you have to admit that you did smell him. You told me about the smell on the phone."
Matt shrugged, and said, "I hit my head. Head injuries mess with my senses."
"Whatever, Murdock. You just don't want to admit that I kicked Death's ass while you laid on the floor like a damsel in distress."
"Laid on the floor, under a pile rubble," Matt corrected.
"Whatever. I still rocked," Foggy said, and then he turned. "You believe me, right Karen?"
"Ummmm, sure?" she replied non-committally.
"See!" Foggy exclaimed. "Karen believes me."
Matt smirked and pushed himself away from the desk, and as he limped slowly across the room, he said, "If you decide you want to do some work today today, I'll be in my office."
"Hey, Matt," Karen called across the room. He turned slightly, and she continued. "I brought doughnuts."
"Not exactly the healthiest of breakfasts," he replied.
"And neither is having no breakfast. I brought apples too."
"Thanks, Karen," he replied with a smile, and shuffled into the kitchen.
Karen waited until Matt had left the room, and then lowered her voice, and asked, "Are you sure he should be at work if it was that bad?"
"You know he can probably still hear you, right?" Foggy asked.
"I definitely can," Matt shouted from the kitchen.
"Smart ass," Foggy murmured under his breath, and through the door of the kitchen he saw Matt smirk.
"It sounds like a really bad injury," Karen said.
"Well, you know Matt," Foggy said, and then he raised his voice, "MR 'I DON'T NEED A HOSPITAL. I'M FINE, NO REALLY.'"
"Yup. I hauled his half unconscious ass over to her place, she patched him up, gave him fluids and antibiotics, then sent him on his merry way."
Karen wrinkled her nose, and raised her hand to her mouth. "What is that smell? It's like something died in here."
"Smell?" Foggy asked, and then he caught a whiff of it. The same lingering odour that had surrounded Matt when he was trapped beneath the caved in floor only two nights before as Death tried to claim him. "Oh shit!"
Foggy jumped off the desk as a mist began to coalesce in the corner of the office, and darted towards the kitchen.
An apple lay on the floor with a single bite taken out of it, and slumped in the corner of the room, was Matt, his lips slowly turning blue.
"Karen!" Foggy shrieked as he dragged Matt to the centre of the room, and propped him up.
"What happened?" Karen asked frantically, when she appeared in the kitchen doorway.
Foggy thumped Matt hard on the back, and asked, "Do you know how to do the Heimlich maneuver?" When she shook her head, he continued, "Oh, well in that case, it's your turn to fight Death."
"What?" Karen asked, and then Foggy pointed towards the door. She turned her head, and found herself face to face with a skeleton.
"Matthewwww..." he hissed.
Karen grabbed the nearest thing to hand, and threw it.
The skeleton let out an awful screeching sound as a doughnut hit him in the eye socket, and its jelly middle exploded, covering the creature's face in dripping red goo.
"Unless he's diabetic, doughnuts aren't much of a weapon." Foggy shouted, as he hauled Matt up off the floor and wrapped his arms tightly round his middle. "Hit him! HIT HIM!"
"You think you can just come in here and take people?" Karen shrieked, as she picked up the open box of doughnuts and smashed the cardboard over Death's head. "Aren't you supposed to ask permission to come in, huh?"
"That's vampires," Death replied quietly, his arms still held defensively in front of him.
"I don't give a shit," Karen shouted back, as she picked up the coffee pot and threw it.
The pot shattered as it connected with the skeleton's head, and he let out an ungodly wail as he staggered back into the office.
Karen pushed him in the back, sending him reeling across the floor with his cloak flowing out behind him, and she lifted the lid of the photocopier. She caught a handful of the black material and yanked Death back towards her. She grabbed him by the back of the neck, pushed his face down onto the glass and smashed the lid of the copier down onto his skull.
Death lifted his head and staggered back across the room, holding one hand out, and gasped, "Keep away from me!"
Karen looked round for the nearest weapon, intending to go after him once more, and then they both heard it it; the sound of someone drawing air into their lungs as if they had just surfaced from lake.
"That's it, Matt. Just breathe. I got ya," she could hear Foggy murmuring.
Karen turned back to Death and smirked. "I think that's your cue to leave."
Death opened his mouth, as if he was about to speak, and then changed his mind and vanished in a puff a dark grey smoke.
Karen moved swiftly to the kitchen and found Foggy, still cradling Matt in his arms as he got his breath back.
"How's he doing?" She asked, as she crouched by Foggy's side.
"I'm fine," Matt rasped out.
"Seriously, Matt?" Foggy asked. "You can't even eat an apple without almost getting yourself killed?"
"It just went down the wrong way," Matt said, as he hauled himself into a sitting position.
"Really? 'Cause when I came in here you were purple. Like, actually purple," Foggy said. "And oh yeah, your good friend Death showed up again."
Matt let out a snort of derision as he dragged himself to his feet, then steadied himself with one hand on the counter top.
"Don't you dare laugh at me," Foggy said. "We both saw him this time."
"He's right Matt. I saw him too," Karen said. "You really need to start taking care of yourself, because he really seems to want you. I don't think he's going to stop trying till he gets you."
Matt hummed gently, and then it turned into a laugh as he turned away shaking his head. "Like I said, if you want to do any work today, I'll be in my office."
"You can't just ignore this," Foggy shouted after him. "How do you explain it now that we've both seen him?"
"Mass hysteria," Matt said over his shoulder, as he limped through his office door and then closed it behind him.
Foggy let out a roar of frustration, and exclaimed, "How can he be so blind? Well, not blind... Actually yes, blind! We've both seen him now. You know that Death is coming for Matt too."
"So what do we do?" Karen asked.
"What we've already been doing; we continue being super awesome Death slayers."
"We haven't exactly slain him, Foggy."
"OK then, we continue being super awesome Death shoo-er away-ers."
"That works!" Karen replied. "To be honest, Death is a lot more of a wimp than I imagined he would be. That jelly doughnut terrified him."
"I imagine that cloak is dry clean only, and you know how hard it is to find a good cleaner in the city."
"Especially one who can deal with vintage clothes," Karen replied.
"Oh and by the way, that thing with the photocopier?" Foggy said. "Nice move."
"Hi, Claire," Foggy said cheerfully down the line.
"Wait, who is this?" Claire asked. "How did you get my number?"
"Oh, this is Foggy. Matt's friend. We met that time he was bleeding out on his apartment floor. I stole Matt's burner phone so I could call you."
"Is Matt OK?"
"He is at the moment, but I have what may sound like a slightly strange request to make."
"Okayyy..." Claire said, sounding slightly confused and more than a little sceptical.
"Whenever matt calls you or turns up at your house bleeding like a stuck pig, I want you to call me," Foggy said.
"What?" Claire asked.
"I know it sounds strange," Foggy reassured her, "but believe me, when it happens, you will understand why."
"So any time Matt gets injured, you want me just to call you and let you know?"
"Yeah," Foggy replied. "I need your home address too."
"And you aren't even going to tell me why?"
"Trust me," Foggy relied. "Even if I told you why, you wouldn't believe me, but I promise you, if you don't call me you'll probably end up regretting it."
"Is that meant to be a threat?" Claire asked.
"Oh! No, no!" Foggy replied. "But yeah, you really need to call me."
After the call had ended Claire sat and thought about the conversation she had just had. Did she really want to be giving her address to a guy she had only met once, and who wouldn't explain why? Foggy was Matt's best friend, and if Matt trusted him with his secret, then maybe she should too?
Claire didn't quite understand why Foggy had been so adamant that she should call him until two weeks later, when she was performing CPR on an unconscious Matt, while Foggy and Karen pummelled a giant screaming, skeleton with a kettle and a rolling pin.
Foggy had only been asleep on his couch for about an hour, covered in several blankets to keep out the chill of the cold December air, when he was woken by muttered complaints, followed by the sound of a plate smashing, and a body hitting the floor.
Foggy jumped up, switched on the nearest light, and grabbed first thing he could lay his hands on to use as a weapon.
He edged into the kitchen, holding aloft his rolled up newspaper, avoiding chips of broken white crockery with his bare feet, and asked, "Matt?"
Matt was laid on the floor, his arms pulled tight around his chest as he shook violently.
"Karen!" Foggy shouted, as he knelt beside his friend, and placed a hand on his shoulder. "You're soaked. Is it raining out?"
"R-r-river," Matt stuttered out, barely able to speak through his violent shivers. "F-f-f-fell in."
"Shit, it's like 30 degrees out there!" Foggy exclaimed.
"Is he here?" Karen asked as she charged into the room.
"You can put the coat-hanger down, Karen," Foggy said. "Matt's alone, for once, but we need to get him moved somewhere warmer, 'cause this idiot fell in the river. Can you grab his feet?"
"Sure," Karen replied, as she tucked the coat-hanger under her arm and grabbed Matt's ankles. She waited while Foggy slipped his hands under Matt's arms and asked, "You ready?"
"On three," Foggy nodded.
"One, two, Threeeee," Foggy said, as they both lifted Matt into the air and gently carried him through into the living room.
"Couch?" Karen asked.
"Are you kidding?" Foggy replied. "That couch cost more than Nelson & Murdock have taken in the last month, and he's dripping wet. Put him on the rug."
They moved across the room, and gently laid Matt on the soft faux fur rug, that Foggy had specifically picked out because Matt had complained his last rug made his feet hurt with its roughness.
Foggy knelt, noting that Matt seemed to have stopped shivering so violently, and asked, "How you feeling now, Matty?"
"Warm," Matt mumbled in reply.
"I think we need to get those wet clothes off him," Karen said, as dropped the coat-hanger on the table and pulled Foggy's blanket off the couch.
"Then what?" Foggy asked. "Hot bath?"
"I don't know..." Karen replied. "Maybe we should ring Claire."
"After what happened last time?" Foggy said. "I think she'd rip my head off if I dared."
"You could google it?" Karen said.
"Oh! Great idea!" Foggy said, as he grabbed his phone. "You undress him while I look it up."
On the floor Matt had started squirming, and raised a hand to slide his mask off. Once that was discarded he started tugging weakly at the bindings of his suit.
Karen knelt down next to him, and asked, "You need some help there?"
"Too hot," Matt mumbled.
"Your lips are blue, Murdock. I highly doubt you're too hot," Foggy said.
Karen started stripping Matt out of his costume, as Foggy wandered round his apartment, holding his phone in the air. "Dammit! I think next door changed their Wi-Fi password."
"Right, I'm done," Karen said, as she pulled the blanket over Matt. "What do we do next?"
"Ah ha! It's working... OK, strip him out of wet clothes... Check. Blankets. Check. Definite no no on the hot bath..." Foggy said, as he read from the phone, and then he briefly looked down, and asked, "Is he OK?"
Karen looked down, noting that Matt had stopped squirming, and his head had slumped to one side. She put her hand on his chest, and shook him gently. "Hey, Matt. Matt?"
"Matthewwww," a voice hissed from the corner of the room, and Death stepped out from the shadows.
"Oh, not again," Foggy groaned, rolling his eyes. "Haven't you learnt your lesson yet?"
"His soul is ready for collection. He yearns for it, hopes each night will be his l-" Death let out a shriek as Foggy charged across the room with the coat hanger in his hand and whipped it across the skeleton's face.
"No!" Foggy shouted, as he thrashed the coat hanger across the back of Death as he stumbled across the room. "You do not get to say that about him!"
"Foggy!" Karen shouted. She was still kneeling next to Matt, with her hand on his chest. "What do I do?"
Foggy scrolled on his phone with one hand, in the other hand he still held the coat-hanger in the air as he pursued the fleeing Death into the kitchen. "Body heat!"
"What?" Karen shouted back, as Death and Foggy, who was now wielding a potato ricer, appeared back in the living room.
"Get under the blanket and hug him!" Foggy shouted, as Death turned to face him, feinting right and then left. "Not such a tough guy now, are ya, huh?"
"Even if it is not this day, one day I will take him," Death hissed. "You will not always be there to protect him."
"You bet your bony ass I will," Foggy replied. "Even if I'm not there, Matt will always come back to me."
"And what if he falls in a cold dark alleyway, and can't get up? What will you do then?"
"Not gonna happen. Matt will ALWAYS get up," Foggy said confidently, as he swung again, bringing down the potato ricer on death's ribs with a sickening snap.
"Foggy!" Karen shouted, and he turned to look at her. "He isn't waking up. I think we need more body heat."
Foggy dropped the potato ricer to the floor and darted across the room. Karen was hugging Matt from behind, so he climbed down to the floor and pulled back the blanket, then laid down beside Matt, and wrapped his arms around him, hugging him from the front.
Death straightened up from his previous defensive posture, and smoothed down his cloak with long bony fingers. As he glided across the room, he whispered, "An unwise choice."
"Nu-uh," Foggy said, as pulled Matt closer. "This is my best friend, and you can't have him... even if he is drooling on my chest a little bit right now."
Matt let out a small groan, and mumbled, "Foggyyyy?"
"Hey, Matty, you back with us in the land of the living?"
"Hm-hmmm," Matt hummed.
Foggy turned his head, and pointed at the skeleton. "Ha! In your face, Death! In your face!"
Death paused, let out a snort of annoyance, and said, "You may be victorious this time, but it shall not always be so."
"Go to hell!" Karen shouted.
"I intend to," the creature replied petulantly, and he vanished into a pool of smoke.
Matt let out another groan and shuffled closer to Foggy, throwing one leg over him and pulling him in tightly.
"Hey, Karen," Foggy said.
"If for some reason we ever have to do this again, please, for the love of god, leave his underwear on."
An hour later and Matt was still stretched out, face down on the soft rug, with half a dozen blankets piled on top of him, and he mumbled, "Foggy, your apartment stinks."
"Well, that's because Death was just here again, so that's kinda why," Foggy huffed.
"There's a four day old chicken wing down the back of the middle couch cushion," Matt murmured. "Teriyaki."
"Don't be ridiculous, Murdock," Foggy said, derisively. "I take it you're staying over?"
"Gonna sleep here," Matt mumbled. "'S warm."
"You need a pillow?"
"No," Matt replied, rubbing his nose into the soft pile. "Why's Karen here? You guys dating?"
"No, Matt, we aren't dating. We just thought it'd be easier to save your life if we were both in the same place next time Death comes for you."
Matt laughed into rug.
"Listen to my heart beat when I say this and tell me whether I'm lying. DEATH CAME FOR YOU."
Matt paused a moment, then replied, "You believe it happened. That doesn't necessarily mean it did."
"Are you calling me crazy? Do you think I'm seeing things, and Karen, AND Claire too?"
"Told you before. Shared delusions," Matt replied, smiling into the rug.
"Whatever," Foggy huffed, turning off the light. "Go to sleep."
"Night, Foggy," Matt said quietly.
Foggy turned over on the couch, pulling his blanket over himself angrily, and closed his eyes. He couldn't understand why Matt wouldn't believe that Death was coming for him, even in the face of such overwhelming evidence. Even if Matt had never seen Death, there was the sworn testimony of his three closest friends in the world and there was that overwhelming smell that always stuck around when death had put in an appearance. Foggy could still smell it, even more now he was on the other side of the room...
Experimentally, Foggy slipped his hand down the back of the middle couch cushion, and found his fingers dipping into a foul smelling, rancid puddle of goo, and at the centre of it was a rotten chicken wing.
"Dammit, Murdock," Foggy cursed, as he climbed off the sofa to find a cloth to wipe his hand, and from the rug he heard Matt trying to suppress a quiet laugh.
Christmas and New Year's Eve were refreshingly Death free.
Matt didn't accidentally ingest Mistletoe or any other poisons.
Matt didn't get crushed by a falling Christmas tree.
Matt didn't get stabbed by Santa.
Matt didn't get impaled on a decorative reindeer's horns and bleed out in the display at Time's Square.
Foggy had a hundred scenarios running through his head, each one more lurid than the next, and each one centred on the various and ridiculous ways that Matt Murdock could get himself killed over Christmas.
Thankfully none of them happened.
It was almost a surprise when two weeks into January Foggy received a phone call a desperate phone call from Claire at 11pm one night.
"Matt just called me," Claire said quickly. "He wants me to meet him on the roof of my apartment block in 10 minutes."
"Did he say what was wrong with him?" Foggy asked.
"He was running and I couldn't get much sense out of him, so I'm thinking nothing good," Claire replied. "I want you over here now in case that thing comes back."
"We're on our way," Foggy said, and hung up the phone.
"Where the hell did you get those?" Claire asked, when Foggy and Karen arrived on her apartment block roof carrying a medieval battle axe and a samurai sword.
"eBay," Karen replied, with a shrug of the shoulders.
"Where is he?" Foggy asked, scanning the roof.
"He should be here by now," Claire said.
There was a crash to their left, a sound of someone knocking over garbage cans, and then Matt vaulted onto the roof, twirling through the air like a gymnast, executed the perfect landing, then fell on his ass.
They ran over to Matt as he climbed to his feet unsteadily and dropped down to one knee again, breathing heavily.
"What happened?" Claire asked, as she ran her hands over his body, searching for injuries.
"Stabbed," Matt says as he stumbled backward, landing heavily on his back.
"I don't see any blood," Claire said.
"Junkie... Stabbed me with... a needle."
"Matt," Claire said, taking hold of his face, and pulling off his mask. "Do you know what was in it?"
"Heroin," Matt gasped. "Lots of it."
"How are you feeling?" Claire asked.
Matt let out a laugh and said, "I feel great."
"Is he high?" Foggy asked. "Did he just invite us over to watch him be high?"
"Nothing hurts," Matt replied, then his head drifted to the side and he slurred, "M' gonn go sleep now."
"Matt, no, stay awake," Claire said, as shook him hard.
"That's bad, right?" Foggy asked.
"It is if his body forgets how to breathe," Claire said, rubbing her fist against his sternum. "Matt! Matt!"
"Matt?" Foggy said forlornly.
"Matthewwwww," a voiced hissed behind them.
Foggy turned and faced Death. "Couldn't you for once just take a night off or something?"
"Death has only one purpose," the skeleton said.
"And apparently Death doesn't learn his lesson!" Karen shouted, as she raised her axe and ran towards him, screaming a battle cry that would have put Russell Crowe to shame.
Foggy watched as Death let out a piercing shriek, not unlike the one Foggy himself had let out when he had found a particularly large spider his bath just this morning, and took off at a run, pursued by Karen, who was waving her axe menacingly.
"Guys," Claire said loudly, and Foggy turned to look at her. "Keep him busy."
"Where the hell are you going?" Foggy screamed as Claire stood up and darted across the roof.
"Keep him BUSY!" Claire shouted back, as she disappeared through the rooftop access door.
Foggy went down on one knee by Matt's side, and placed a finger to his neck, feeling his weak and thready pulse. His face was ashen, paler than Foggy had ever seen him, and his breathing seemed to be slowing steadily.
"You've gotta hang in there, buddy. You hear me?" Foggy said quietly. "We aren't going to let him take you."
Foggy stood and turned around, watching as Karen landed a solid axe blow between Death's shoulder blades, and in the past such an injury would probably have made the skeleton think twice, but this time it didn't seem to phase him.
"Uh, Foggy," Karen shouted. "This isn't working!"
Foggy whistled, and shouted, "Hey, bone head?"
Death stopped, and as he looked at Foggy, Karen swung her axe again, but the skeleton swatted it away with a strength they had never seen before.
"I can feel him," the thing hissed. "Feel him weakening, and his heartbeat faltering. As his strength fades, mine grows, and it seems he will finally be mine."
"Nu-hu," Foggy said, holding his sword out, as Karen joined him by his side. "To get to him you're gonna have to go through us!"
As Death edged closer there was a crash as Claire slammed the rooftop access door open, almost knocking it off its hinges. She ran across the roof and skidded to halt next to Matt, dropping to her knees. She opened a small package in her hand and then slammed it down into Matt's thigh.
"What was that?" Foggy asked.
"Narcan," Claire replied with a smile. "We need to watch out though. He might be a bit jumpy when he wakes u-"
Matt sat up with a start, gasping for breath, his eyes were wild as he abruptly leapt to his feet.
"Matt, no!" Karen shouted as Matt suddenly shot backwards in confusion, and barrelled straight into Claire, who let out a scream as she hit the parapet at the side of the roof, her hands grasping wildly as she tumbled towards the edge.
"No!" Foggy shouted, as he dropped his sword and ran past Matt, grabbing Claire's foot as she went head first over the low wall.
Karen dropped her axe and ran to join Foggy, grabbing hold of the soft jogging bottoms that Claire was wearing.
"Matt, we could use a little help here," Foggy said, struggling to keep hold of Claire's shoe.
Death moved closer, his cloak billowing behind him as the wind gained strength, and he said, "If Matthew shall not be mine, perhaps I will take this one instead."
"Foggy?" Matt asked in a croaky voice, as he tilted his head. "What the hell is that thing?"
Foggy rolled his eyes, and said, "Finally..."
"It's Death, Matt," Karen shrieked. "Kick his ass!"
Matt raised his fists, and as Death approached he crouched, then rushed forward, delivering a solid punch to the side of the skeleton's head.
It screamed, raising it's hands defensively as reeled from the blow, but Matt wasn't stopping. He leapt into the air, his body flowing as he somersaulted and landed a kick Death's exposed ribs.
Death staggered across the roof, his cape flowing behind him, but Matt was on it again, landing punches on it till it collapsed.
"Matt!" Foggy shouted. "Claire's safe!"
Matt could sense them behind him. Claire was kneeling on the roof, he hands planted firmly on the rough surface as she sucked in deep breaths and tried to calm her rapidly beating heart.
The thing that lay in front of his was different. In the middle of the world on fire, it was a blank spot of deep cold with no heart beat. A blank spot that had tried to take Claire from him.
"You don't get to hurt my friends," Matt shouted as he jumped onto it's exposed stomach and started raining punches onto it's skull.
"Stop!" Death shrieked.
"Why should I?" Matt screamed back.
"You!" Death gasped, as it pointed a bony finger at Matt. "You are not worthy of my time. Your soul is not worth all this... this effort!"
Matt sat back on his haunches, giving the skeleton room to wiggle out from underneath him and edge it's way across the roof.
"Don't come back," Matt shouted after it.
"Believe me," Death hissed. "I have better souls to reap than yours. I shall not return."
There was a movement of air currents across the roof, and with that Death vanished.
Matt turned to his friends,and said, "Do you think I should take that as an insult?"
"So, you're admitting you actually saw Death this time?" Foggy asked, as he stood.
"To be fair, I am on drugs right now, so it could be an hallucination," Matt said, with a wry smile, and then he asked, "Claire, are you OK?"
"I'm fine, Matt." Claire replied. "Although I'm probably going to have nightmares about this moment for the rest of my life."
Matt crossed the roof and said, "I'm sorry I ran into you. I could have killed you."
"It was an accident," Claire said softly.
"So," Karen said. "I don't know about anyone else, but I could really use a drink after all this excitement."
"Drinks, yes!" Foggy said excitedly. "To Josie's!"
"Claire, can I leave my battle axe at your apartment?" Karen asked.
"Er, sure..." Claire said hesitantly, and then added, "Matt, I don't think you should be drinking after that Narcan."
"I can't believe anyone isn't asking the big question," Foggy said. "Claire, why do you have Narcan in your apartment?"
"You don't even want to know what I've got in my apartment since this one showed up," Claire said, nudging Matt playfully in the ribs.
Foggy laughed and hefted his sword over his shoulder, then started walking towards the roof access door. "Come on, we need to find Matt a change of clothes before we hit the town.
"Hey, guys?" Matt asked. "If death said I wasn't worth the effort, does that mean I'm immortal now?"
Foggy suddenly stopped in his tracks and spun on his heels, then jabbed a finger into Matt's chest, and said, "Don't you dare be testing that theory, Murdock. Don't you dare!"