The Return

Chapter Fourteen

Much later, when she looked back on the events of that night, Elektra found that she couldn't remember the trip to the hospital, at least not in any clear detail. She only knew that, at some point, Matt had gotten his hands on civilian clothes for the two of them, though how he managed to do this before the ambulance showed up was beyond her.

That had been hours ago and she had yet to receive any word on Abby's condition. She was seriously considering going up to the nurse and demanding information (though she doubted this attempt would be any more successful then the last four) when she became aware of a familiar sound. Looking up, Elektra watched as Matt reentered the waiting room from a nearby hallway and took a seat beside her.

"Any news?" He asked softly.

"Nothing," Elektra replied. Then, after a beat of silence, "how's Foggy?"

"He's okay. Bullseye did a real number on him, but he'll recover. Except…"

"Except what?"

"He knows. About me. Apparently while Bullseye was beating him up he also took great pleasure in letting him know that his best friend has been lying to him for years."

"So what did he say to you?"

"Nothing really, he was still pretty drowsy from all the drugs they've been giving him. I'll have to wait until later before I try explaining things. That'll be an interesting conversation."

"I'm sorry; I know you didn't want him to find out like this."

"It doesn't matter. Actually it might make it a little easier when I have to explain how you suddenly came back from the dead."

Elektra nodded but didn't say anything, her mind already returning to Abby. Sensing this, Matt placed a hand on her knee, squeezing gently in an attempt to convey his support.

"She'll be all right," he stated firmly.

"How do you know?"

"Because she's too much like you to let Bullseye win."

"But if she's not all right, if something does happen, I can't bring her back. Kimagure is a one time option and I already used hers up."

"Nothing is going to happen. She's too strong, survived too much to let herself be beaten now."

Before Elektra could formulate a response, a new voice interrupted. "You should listen to him Elektra, he's a smart man. Most of the time anyway."

They were both up and out of their seats in a heartbeat, Stick's arrival an unexpected, but certainly not unwelcome development.

"Tell me she's okay," Elektra demanded.

The smile tugging at the old man's lips was all the answer she needed. "She was lucky. The doctors were able to get her breathing again long enough for me to do the rest. The fact that she fought it off at all is quite remarkable."

"So she'll be okay?"

Stick nodded an affirmative. "The drug is out of her system, which is fortunate because the medical staff here would have had no idea how to deal with it. It's one of The Hand's newer varieties of poison."

But Elektra barely heard him at all; her mind having more or less stopped as soon as she realized Abby was no longer in danger. "I need to see her."

"Of course."

Matt was hit with a strong sense of déjà vu as Stick once again directed them to Abby's location after once again saving her life. Had all that really been only a few days ago? God, it felt like another lifetime.

"You should go. Be with her. I know that's what you both want."

"Thank you," Matt extended his hand to the older man, who's grip was surprising strong. As he turned to leave, Matt noticed that Elektra wasn't following him.

"I never did thank you for everything you've done."

"You never had to," Stick answered.

"But you saved her. And no matter what's happened between us I'll never be able to repay you for that."

"If you want to repay me, then don't waste your second chance."

"I don't intend to."

Acting on impulse, Elektra gave her former mentor a quick hug, followed by her more customary bow of respect, a gesture he returned.

"Oh, and you might want to work on that stubborn streak as well."

Shaking her head in amusement, Elektra rejoined Matt at the doors leading to the hallway, suddenly feeling more at peace then she had in years.


They found Abby asleep in her hospital bed. While Matt sat down, Elektra remained standing, knowing that she wouldn't relax fully until the girl woke up.

"What are we supposed to say when a doctor comes in and starts asking questions?" Matt wondered.

"Something tells me Stick already took care of that."

"How?"

"I have no idea, but then again that's nothing new when it comes to him."

Matt nodded in acceptance, realizing that there were plenty of things about the man that neither of them would ever understand."

They lapsed into silence, Elektra never taking her eyes off Abby. Matt heard the change in the girl's heartbeat that signaled her return from the land of sleep a few minutes later.

"She's waking up," he whispered.

"I know." Taking a seat at the edge of the bed, Elektra covered Abby's hand with her own, relief coming over her in waves as the teen slowly opened her eyes.

"Hey, Warrior Girl, how are you feeling?"

Abby coughed lightly, trying to clear her throat before focusing on Elektra. "This is happening way too often."

"Tell me about it," Elektra laughed.

Abby's gaze traveled across the room, landing on Matt for the first time. Sensing this, he gave her a smile and carefully rested a hand on her arm.

"Welcome back."

"You mean you actually missed me?" She asked good- naturedly.

"That and I was afraid the night nurse might lose a limb if you didn't wake up soon. Elektra was getting pretty anxious."

"Stop exaggerating, I only threatened her once."

" I counted six times actually."

"I was worried," she defended herself. "And by the way, didn't I tell you to let us handle things?"

"Yup," Abby replied.

"And didn't you promise you would?"

"Yup," Abby repeated.

"So what happened?"

" I had my fingers crossed."

Elektra gave her an exasperated look "That is not an excuse."

"Sure it is. Might not be a very good excuse, but it's still an excuse. Anyway, can we skip the lecture for right now; I want to know what happened."

So they told her, giving an abbreviated version of everything that went on, after which Elektra noticed that her eyes were beginning to droop.

"You should rest."

"I've been resting for hours," she argued.

"Yeah, well Stick's remedies can pack quite a punch. Sleep, unless you want to have that discussion about following orders right now?"

"Nope, later is good. Now that you mention it, I am pretty tired."

"That's what I thought." Leaning down, Elektra pulled the teenager into a gentle hug, followed by Matt, who placed a light kiss on her forehead.

As her eyes grew heavier, Abby whispered a request to both of them.

"Don't leave okay?"

The couple exchanged looks before Elektra responded in an equally quiet voice.

"We're not going anywhere.


Epilogue

Three months later

Elektra sighed in relief as the incessant noise of the smoke detector finally ceased. The damn thing had been going off for nearly fifteen minutes, despite the fact that the small oven fire had been put out long before then. Tired and frustrated, she exited the kitchen to find Abby sprawled out on the couch with the television remote in one hand and a bowl of popcorn in the other.

"Turn that thing off!" She had to shout over the noise of the toothpaste commercial flashing across the screen, Abby having turned the volume as high as it would go.

She complied immediately, schooling her features into a look of practiced innocence. "What's up?"

Elektra glared at her, arms crossed over her chest. "Why didn't you help me out with that?" She asked, gesturing toward the kitchen.

"I didn't hear you?"

"You heard me perfectly well; you just turned the TV up so you could pretend not to."

Shoot, the innocent look had never worked that well on her father either. "Okay, so I was busy."

"You were sitting on the couch watching The X Files. In what universe is that considered busy?"

"Probably the same one where guys have tattoos that attack people?"

Elektra smiled very slightly, unable to stay mad for too long. Turning back toward the kitchen she said, "Don't be a smart ass."

"Can't help it, it's ingrained in my DNA. Hey, you would've liked that show; there was this alien flesh eating virus that was killing everyone."

Elektra stopped what she was doing long enough to wonder why Abby would possibly think a plot like that would be appealing to her. "Charming. Do me a favor, if you're going to waste your time vegetating in front of that thing, could you at least watch something that's not guaranteed to rot your brain out?"

"Like what, A Christmas Story? I swear, if I see that movie one more time I'm going to hit something."

"It's December Abby, that's when they play Christmas movies."

"So?"

"So-never mind, let's just drop it."

The front door opened at that moment, revealing Matt and Foggy, both carrying a pizza.

"Hey," Matt greeted Abby with a shoulder squeeze. "Just drop it on the table," he directed at Foggy.

The other man did as Matt asked, wrinkling his nose at the smoke still emanating from the kitchen. "I guess Martha Stewart is going to have some competition."

Elektra entered the living room again, giving Matt what was supposed to be a quick peck on the lips but quickly escalated into a more drawn out kiss.

The other occupants of the room rolled their eyes simultaneously until Matt finally released her, a smile gracing his lips.

"Why did you bring pizza?" Elektra asked. "I was supposed to make dinner."

"And you seem to be doing fabulously," Foggy responded as he glanced toward the blackened remains of what had once been a chicken. "But we thought it was better to come prepared just in case."

"Okay guys, pay up."

Elektra looked at Abby in confusion,. The girl had a triumphant glint in her eyes and was holding out her hand expectantly. Foggy, who seemed suddenly uncomfortable, began digging through his wallet and it wasn't long before Matt did the same. As she watched, they each pulled out fifty dollar bills and handed them to the teen.

"We weren't supposed to do this right in front of her," Foggy groaned.

Abby shrugged unconcernedly, pocketing the money and going straight for the pizza. Realization finally hit and Elektra shot them all an accusing glare.

"You were betting on me!"

"Well, betting is such a strong word," Foggy began before caving under the ex assassin's scrutiny. "It was her idea," he finished lamely, pointing a finger at Abby.

"Nice," Abby said past a mouthful of pepperoni. "Is that what they teach you in law school?"

"That's enough," Matt told both of them. Then, turning to Elektra he continued. "It was just a friendly little wager. And if it makes you feel any better, I was the one betting that you wouldn't set anything on fire."

"And I was the one betting that we'd get to test the smoke detector," Abby added.

Elektra laughed in spite of herself. Matt's suggestion that the four of them have a pre Christmas dinner suddenly made sense, as did Abby's insistence that said dinner wouldn't be the same if they ordered take out. She really should've suspected something like this, but truth be told, she was in too good of a mood to be angry.

"Fine, let's just eat while there's still something left." Elektra glanced pointedly at Abby, who was already on her third slice.

"I have a rapid metabolism."

The rest of the night passed uneventfully as everyone enjoyed a rare moment of normalcy. Though he'd been shocked and more then a little hurt that Matt had lied to him all those years, Foggy had forgiven him rather quickly, glad that Matt seemed to have found some measure of happiness. And though he was somewhat disturbed by Elektra's past, he also realized that she was a genuinely good person who loved Matt unconditionally.

Abby had moved in with them right away, and though she still missed her father, she was doing a fairly good job of moving on with her life. Any negative feelings she had toward Matt had been erased long ago and she now counted him among the few people she trusted.

As Elektra looked around at them all, she couldn't help the nagging feeling that things weren't really over. The Hand was still out there, though she doubted they would make a move any time soon. Pushing those thoughts from her mind, she focused on what was important. Right now they were safe, right now Matt wasn't out risking his life as Daredevil, and for right now, that was enough.


Ben Urich sat at his desk in the newspaper office, hand hovering over the receiver of his phone. Much as he thought they would want this information now, something was telling him to hold off. Reaching a decision, he left the phone in its cradle, picked up the jacket draped across the back of his chair and headed home for the night. It could wait until the morning. In the morning he would call Matt Murdock and tell him what he'd found out.

In the morning he would tell him that Bullseye's body had never reached the morgue.

Author's Note: It's done, it's finally done! Took me long enough huh? I changed things up and put this at the end of the chapter instead of the beginning just because I have a lot to say and I didn't want to mention any spoilers. I know the ending might seem a little corny, but I went to two funerals (It would have been three if I hadn't got sick) this week and I really needed to write something a little sappy. My question to you is…what did you think? This was my first story and I was really nervous about posting. Was it halfway decent or are you guys throwing virtual tomatoes at me right now?

Question two is…should I write a sequel? I definitely have some ideas floating around, but I wouldn't want to write something that nobody cares to read. Give me your opinions by sending me a review.

Finally, I'd like to dedicate this story to Chris, Christian, and Derek, three great guys from my school that passed away this week. Wherever you guys are, I'm sure you're having one hell of a party, just like you always did. Thanks to everyone who ever took the time to even look at this story, and especially to those who reviewed. You guys gave me great insights and kept me motivated to write. Special thanks go to Ratdogtwo, who was kind enough to help me out with certain plot points whenever I was stuck. Finally, to close the longest author's note in the history of the world, I just want to wish all of you happy holidays and thank you for your support, even when it took me an eternity to update.