A/N: Hello fellow DD fans! Here's the newest story to the fandom. You might recognize some aspects of the story Accidental Hero by Girlwithoutfear, but this story was written more than a year ago. It was almost done when I read the first chapter of Hero. It is my fourth DD story, and the first time I ever tried to really describe anything. I hope it shows some improvement over From Hell's Kitchen and Blurred Edges, but I shall let you be the judge of that. As for the editing, it has been looked over by a few of my friends (none on the cite), ModernScribe, and of course, Girlwithoutfear. Hopefully they caught everything. And without further ado: Shakespearean Fool.
A man walks down a deserted street, his suit slightly rumpled, as if he'd put it on in a hurry, his eyes hidden behind reflective sunglasses, despite the late hour. Suddenly the man stops. He thought he'd heard something…
Fifteen years earlier:
Matthew Murdock's hand shot up before anyone else had time to process the question. His teacher wasn't surprised, this was almost always the case.
"Mr. Murdock, would you like to answer?" Mrs. Quentin had to hold back a smile. It wasn't like Matt actually had a choice; his was the only hand up.
Matt took a deep breath. "King Henry the Eighth made Great Britain Protestant in order to divorce his wife, Catherine of Aragon." He paused for a second, deciding whether or not he should continue. "He divorced Catherine, making Mary unable to ascend the thrown. He then married Anne Bolen-" The fifteen-year old boy stopped suddenly, realizing he was only digging himself a bigger hole.
"Is there something wrong?" His teacher looked concerned.
"No, that's just as much as I know," Matt lied. He actually could have gone all the way into Queen Elizabeth's reign, but he knew that wouldn't score him any points after school.
"All right then, thank you, Mr. Murdock, for getting us that far. Now, can anyone tell me why the king divorced Catherine of Aragon?"
"Good show in there, pet."
Matt didn't need to turn around to recognize that voice. "Thanks Kelson, I didn't think you were paying attention." Matt regretted opening his mouth as soon as he heard himself speak. Rick Kelson had been teasing him for as long as he could remember and he didn't need anymore material.
"Funny. When did you grow a backbone, 'Daredevil'?" the bully sniggered. His buddy, who'd just come up behind him, played on the joke.
"I guess he had to. You know, Rick," he turned to face Matt, his smirk wide and taunting, "you need to be brave to turn the pages of the big, bad books in the middle of the night."
Since Matt was little, his father had told him not to fight. He'd encouraged him to stick to school and turn another cheek to the boys that weren't going anywhere. But this was the last straw. Matt had been bullied because of his work ethic for too long. He dropped his backpack on the ground, getting ready to make a stand.
The bullies noticed Matt's determination. "So ya wanna fight, Daredevil?" Rick Kelson took off his jacket. His friends stepped forward but he stopped them, "No, this is between me and Daredevil."
Rick and Matt looked at each other for what seemed like an eternity. Matt made the first move. He threw a punch at his enemy, but he was too slow. Rick moved out of the way easily.
"You're as fast as your father!" Rick sniggered, landing a punch on Matt's lip. It started bleeding into his mouth, but Matt didn't taste it. Rick had pushed way too many of his buttons.
Matt's father was a boxer. He'd gone against the best of them, but that was before Matt was born. Now his boxing name, Battlin' Jack Murdock, was fading from everyone's memory.
Matt forgot about his promise to his father not to fight. He forgot that he hadn't landed a punch in his life. He forgot to be afraid.
Rick hadn't noticed the look in Matt's eyes or the change in his stance. He was still laughing at his last jibe. But he did notice Matt's fist in his eye.
He jumped back, a look of pure shock on his face. His friends had stopped laughing now. Everyone was staring at the two boys. The fight was on!
Kelson aimed a right hook – Matt dodged. He threw a punch, Matt blocked. He tried again, but Matt beat him. Matt was in his element, he saw that now. Matt was dancing, his feet flying, fists a blur. Rick was scared, so much so that he didn't even realize it.
The fight didn't last longer than three minutes. It had ended rather suddenly for both. Matt snapped out of the trance he'd been in to see Rick lying flat on his back, nose spurting blood and gasping for air. Matt barely remembered anything.
He looked up to see everyone staring at him, mouths hanging open like bear traps. Matt ran. He tore down the back allies of Hell's Kitchen, ashamed, both for disobeying his father and for liking the feeling of power in his blood. His lip was still bleeding, sending a trail of red down his chin and onto his ragged t-shirt.
Matt opened his apartment door as fast as the stiff lock would allow. He didn't want the neighbors to see his battle wounds. He rushed to the tiny bathroom, searching for something – anything – to stop the bleeding. His eyes fell on a piece of toilet paper and he lunged for it, pressing it against his lip.
Matt looked at his reflection in the mirror. His knuckles looked like his father's after a fight, his cheeks fiery from his run, red hair an even bigger mess than usual. But what was strange was the unfamiliar look in his eyes. They were sparkling, and there was something behind them. It was courage and a certain confidence he'd never felt before.
Matt was still staring at himself when he heard the apartment door open. Matt jumped, his father wasn't supposed to be home till late.
"Mattie, are you home?" Jack called, his deep, boxer voice reverberating in the small apartment.
Matt jammed the toilet paper in his pants' pocket. "I'm in the bathroom. I'll be right out!" He thought about taking off his shirt to hide the blood drips, but he knew Jack would find out anyway. So he took a deep breath and opened the door.
Jack looked up from flipping through the channels to find the current match on TV. It didn't take him longer than a second to notice Matt's swollen and bloodied lip. His face changed from happy excitement at seeing his son to anger and disappointment. His voice went low.
"You promised me."
Matt winced. "I didn't mean to," he whispered. He loved his father more than anything and he knew his father loved him just as much, but that just made him feel even worse about disobeying him.
Jack exploded. "What do you mean? You promised me you wouldn't fight!"
"I know, but they made me crack. They have been teasing me for years and today was the final straw. I'm so sorry." But as soon as the words left his mouth, he knew he wasn't. He wasn't sorry that he'd kicked Kelson's butt.
Jack could see Matt's realization, and that made him even angrier. Two seconds passed in silence, both Murdocks trying to stare the other down. Then Jack said something he knew he would regret as soon as he said it. "Get out and don't come back until you can show me that you will never do that again!"
Matt couldn't think. His mind went blank. Without saying a word, he turned around and closed the door behind him.