Author's Note: Daredevil and related characters belong to Marvel Comics. "Marvel Re-Imagined" is also a Comicvine based fanfic group and as such this chapter was originally posted from June 20 - June 24 as the first three parts to 'The Owl of Wall Street'. Any feedback is greatly appreciated as this is, for me at least, a writing exercise.
It was a cold and rainy day when Lieber approached the small office of Nelson and Murdock. He took off his drenched hat and wrung it, squeezing the water into a bucket by the door before stepping inside. His first impression was that Nelson and Murdock were not, as he had been led to believe, cheap but effective lawyers. From the relic of a TV left over from the 90s and the plain, chipped walls Lieber's impression was that Nelson and Murdock could hardly be as effective as the stories he'd been fed claimed. Effective lawyers would at the very least have found the funds to repaint their walls. Sighing, tossing his coat over the couch near the TV, Lieber sat himself down to wait patiently for his appointment.
"Mr Lieber?" asked a woman. He rubbed his hands, tugged on his jacket and turned to her. She was a young, pretty woman with blonde hair that did something. Lieber wasn't sure what it was doing, if it was a ponytail or braided or if the woman's hair just sat there. He nodded, breathing in deeply. "I'm sorry we don't have a bell, we only just moved in here."
"Ah," was his reply. There was nothing more to be said. The woman, presumably the Page he'd spoken to over the phone, beckoned for him to follow. He stepped into a room with a polished bookcase stretching along the wall, books all old and leather-bound. Lieber could smell the paper and vaguely chalk, definitely something he hadn't experienced in a very long time; perhaps too long.
"Good to meet you, Mr Lieber," said a man in glasses, with neatly combed black hair and meat on his bones. "I'm Mr Nelson, my partner Mr Murdock isn't in I'm afraid."
"Mr Nelson," Lieber repeated, holding out his hand. He noticed a desk tucked into the corner, just next to the bookshelf. "I didn't expect someone called 'Nelson' to be…"
"My mother's side," Mr Nelson said quickly, "her parents moved here after the war. Could I interest you in coffee?"
There was a pause. Lieber said nothing, but Nelson nodded and walked into another room. Page stepped forward, forcing a smile much like an embarrassed mother. "Over the phone you mentioned something about being embezzled, Mr Lieber?"
He nodded as Page offered him Mr Nelson's chair. Sitting down did feel more comfortable, but his back twinged. "Yes, we entered a deal and had Leland Owlsley oversee transactions. Money went missing and we think Owlsley's the one who did the embezzling."
Page nodded as Mr Nelson walked back in, holding two mugs of steaming coffee. Both mugs were a sickly green colour that perfectly matched with Nelson's tie, but Lieber didn't mentioned it as he took the mug in both hands and thanked him. The coffee was hot, which was good and more than could be said for the dismal weather pelting the windows, but Nelson had obviously never heard of sugar. He couldn't deny that the drink was hot, so Lieber drank the bitter brew. Forcing on much the same smile as Page had, he listened as the woman recounted his situation to Mr Nelson. The lawyer put in a nod where it was relevant, held a thoughtful pose and turned back to Lieber as Page finished explaining the embezzlement case.
"You're really going after Leland Owlsley?" Nelson asked, leaning forward with his eyes wide. Lieber noticed that the hold on the lawyer's mug had loosened. "Mr Lieber, he's the Owl of Wall Street. He has… connections and things!"
"I'll have to add that to my list of Foggy Nelson insights," said a person walking into the room. He had fair red hair and, like Lieber had been only a while ago, was wearing a thick coat that was drenched. Unlike Lieber, the man was also wearing dark sunglasses. He'd heard of the man through reputation, of course. It was the blind lawyer, Matthew Murdock; of that Lieber was certain. Whatever reputation the man had, however, still didn't seem to be enough to pay for the walls to be repainted.
"Mr Murdock, this is Mr Lieber," Page said, to which Murdock nodded. There was something to the way Murdock held himself, a confidence that was lacking in Nelson's posture. Nelson was apprehensive, a little jittery even. Murdock simply stood there, calmly leaning on his walking cane.
"I know who Mr Lieber is, Karen," he replied, stretching his hand out to Nelson. He took one last swig from his coffee mug before taking his partner's hand and standing up. "Foggy, could we talk about Mr Lieber's case in private?"
Foggy had taken a comic book down from the shelf and placed it carefully on the table before Matt. It was a vintage issue and still in the plastic. Matt didn't need to see to know that Foggy's expression was mixed. There he was drawn, the superhero in his cape soaring through the sky; the Future-Man. Matt could still remember the day when Foggy had first told him about the issue, described it in detail and first expressed that wish. 'Maybe we could help people like that one day too'. So they chose the boring, mundane road and became lawyers, which still had its perks. Those perks just hadn't decided to show themselves yet.
"I know why you don't want to take Lieber's case Foggy," Matt said, rubbing his brow with his fingers and listening to Foggy pacing the room. He did his pacing more often than Matt knew he'd want to let on. "Times are hard though, Foggy. I want to… I know I can tackle something harder."
"This isn't harder Matt, this is financial suicide."
They'd had the same discussion before. It hadn't ended well. It never really did. That's what everything came down to in the end, money. Its fickle shine and necessity kept the world spinning on its axis, kept the human race collapsing from its state of perpetual dominance. Without money they wouldn't be able to repaint the walls. Without money they'd find themselves forced into protesting down Wall Street. Without money Lieber's case would never have even appeared. It always came down to money and Matt knew Foggy was over conscious about that. He sighed and made a beckoning gesture with his hand. Matt could hear Foggy walking around the room, opening the cupboard and pulling out one of his Greedo-green mugs. He'd never seen either but that's how Foggy had described them when he bought them. That's just who Foggy was.
"Look, I know we need to test ourselves Matt but this isn't how we do it," he said, pushing the cold porcelain mug into Matt's hand. Matt gripped it tightly and carefully raised it to his lips. He could smell the warmth emanating from the mug. Another brew from the man who knew Owlsley had connections. He smiled as Foggy continued talking. "Owlsley could pull in lawyers better than we are, trust me on this Matt."
"I'm not doing this by myself," Matt said, sipping at his coffee. He shivered. The first time he drank Foggy's coffee he'd spat it out. From the stories they shared later, it seemed so had Foggy. That particular brew of coffee, the Toxic Nelson, was a taste acquired through necessity. Warm coffee just always seemed like the perfect match for a gloomy day and the perfect drink to talk legal cases over. Taste became a moot point. As much as Foggy didn't like it, Matt knew there was little else he could do. Foggy sighed. Matt nodded, understanding. He'd sighed like that before, as had Foggy. It was the sigh they shared when that little apartment in the middle of Hell's Kitchen was the only one to fit their meagre pay check, after all. It was the sigh of resignation.
"Sometimes there's nothing you can do," Foggy said, trembling as he picked up his briefcase. "I told you Owlsley's lawyers were better, Matt."
Matt didn't say anything. He never said anything after things like that. Foggy was sure he knew where Matt's thoughts were, after all, and he groaned. They'd been drunk out of their minds when they'd come up with the idea; Foggy's drawings were proof enough. The page was nothing but blocks of colour and the design, if there was one, would be fit only for a character in the works of Lovecraft. Foggy stopped himself there; Lovecraft wasn't the place he wanted to be right then. He'd never even read the books, only heard of the reputation.
Lieber walked by them, his shoulders slouched and his face seemingly aged by the case. Foggy breathed in deeply. If that was what legal cases of that gravity could do to a man, Foggy wasn't sure he wanted to involve himself in business cases ever again. He didn't want to stress himself to death, and Lieber looked as if he was ready to walk into his coffin. The man walked slowly out of the hall. Cameras flashed and the crowd of reporters erupted into furore. It wasn't the paparazzi that drew Foggy to becoming a lawyer, it was helping people. He'd told Matt from the start of the case that it would be suicidal. The one thing Foggy wanted at that instant was a cold drink and a long sleep. His head was throbbing enough as it was without having to go through the questioning of reporters.
"Foggy, you remember…"
"Matt, I don't want to remember," he said as calmly and resignedly as possible. Foggy rubbed his forehead. "Sorry, I have a headache. The last thing I want to do right now is to think about anything."
"How about we take up Karen's offer and go bowling?" Matt suggested, adjusting his glasses. Foggy laughed. She'd suggested it a few times. Maybe it would be quiet and they could just sit back, keep calm and rest. Hide themselves away from reporters and Owlsley, forget the world of law and the stories of the Future-Man. Perhaps it would be nice to act like three friends for just the one evening rather than be a law firm that was struggling to find its perch. Karen would be pleased at least. Rubbing his head again, Foggy nodded.
"Sure," he said. There'd be time for worry later. Foggy was sure Matt was already up to something. His friend's mind would already be whirring with activity, trying to visualise the red mess of a drawing that he'd only felt with fingers. Just for one evening, that evening, the partners of Nelson and Murdock would be plain old Matt, Foggy and Karen. That was the sort of evening Foggy was sure he'd enjoy.