The World According to Franklin Nelson

Disclaimers: This is textual poaching. Marvel owns Foggy Nelson, Matt Murdock, and the rest of their little world. Brian Michael Bendis is heartily adored and any other impression given is wrong. As for the rest, any similarities to actual locations in New York City are, as always, completely intentional. No material profit was either sought or achieved.

It's seven-thirty when I've realized that I have had enough. My last appointment was at three-thirty and Lydia's out sick today and there are times when I really do miss having more than one paralegal in the office.

I stop by Matt's office on my way out. "I'm going," I tell him after rapping on the door. "If I see one more codicil declaring the first party insured against the actions of the second party if and only if they are retained by the third party to contract with the fourth party...I may just lose my finely honed sense of sanity."

The secretaries are long gone and no one is around to wonder, but I don't whisper. I do sometimes, an admittedly juvenile attempt to see just how good Matt's hearing is. It's a game we play for no one's amusement but our own. [For the record, he can hear me speaking under my breath from about a yard past his office door, more if his door is open.]

He looks up at me from where he is reading what seems to be an affidavit. The text-to-speech machine isn't even out and I sigh, more at myself than at him. Although I really wish he'd remember more often that he was blind, I am still amazed that I never clued in to the fact that he is so much more than blind. He hides his talents well, although he gets sloppy in familiar surroundings or when he's sure that nobody is watching. It's why, among other reasons, he works with his door closed. Me, I'm getting claustrophobic in my dotage and don't close my door except when I have to.

"I told you not to pick up that corporate mediation," he replies almost primly, fingertips brushing over the face of his watch. He closes the file folder and puts it in his desk, locking it. It's the paperwork for the wrongful death suit he picked up this morning, I'm guessing. We'll have our weekly pow-wow Thursday afternoon and I'll find out for sure. "You hate corporate work. You hate mediation. Ergo..."

I make a face I know he can't sense.

"I'm good at corporate mediation," I reply, waiting for him to finish gathering his things. We don't usually leave together - we rarely leave together, actually, and I miss the interaction. We spend all day, nearly every day, a matter of yards from each other and so rarely do we have time to be friends instead of law partners. I hate being a grown-up.

"It's a good case with two amenable parties that actually have a chance of sticking to the settlement without hiring another lawyer to get them out of a binding agreement," I continue, even though I don't need to convince him. "I have an obligation to make this as attractive as I can as an alternative to suing each other's gatchkes off in civil court. And, besides, billable hours are always appreciated, even if I am billing them by the hour to bang my head against my desk. Someone has to pay the secretaries."

Matt turns from where he was feeling for his cane on the small table by the window. The windows had been closed against the summer heat and there isn't enough ambient noise. Matt takes his radar for granted and isn't careful about where he puts things and sometimes, when it's quiet, I can hear him whistle gently so that he can 'see'. He won't do it in front of me, however, because we've argued too many times over the years that he's too dependent on his gifts.

"I..." he begins, haltingly and embarrassed as he finds the folded cane and grips it tightly. He has been preoccupied of late - Wilson Fisk is back in town once more - and out of the office more often than in.

"Stop," I tell him, waving my hands. "I'm just giving you grief. If I had a problem with the current situation, I'd have said something. This you know. When have I ever given up a free opportunity to kvetch?"

His shoulders, tense in preparation to offer either apology or defense, relax. He knows as well as I do that everything will balance out in the end. We are complementary in our lawyering skills and that reflects in the sorts of cases we each take - his quick nickels to my slow dollars is how he put it once - and if I am earning most of the profit right now, in two months it will be Matt's turn once more.

"You don't," he confirms, smiling. "You are a gleeful kvetcher."

"That's right. Now let's get out of here before someone starts rumors about us."




I grab a plastic bag and my hand is inches away from the pile when it happens.

"Don't get the peaches," he tells me. "They're no good."

"What's wrong with the peaches? They look fine."

"They don't smell very peachy."

I don't bother to muffle my groan of exasperation. "And yet you knew they were peaches."

"They smell like peaches, just not very much like peaches," he replies, equally frustrated with me because I'm doubting him.

Matt is charmingly, infuriatingly smug when he is relying on his super-senses. It's what makes him Daredevil and it's what makes me occasionally want to kill him... at least until I remember a heartbeat later that there are a lot of people out there who really *do* want to kill him and that scares the living shit out of me because it doesn't scare him. Unlike all of those lunatics, however, I don't really want to kill him. But I would like to whack him over the head with one of those Nerf bats a couple of times.

"They're not going to ripen into anything. They're just going to get mealy."

He's right, and I know he knows I know he's right. Looking closely at the peach closest to my hand, I can see that it has the greenish tint of having been picked too early and the whole pile does not put forth the pleasing aroma of summer and sunshine. I'm tempted to get the peaches anyway, however, because I'm spiteful like that.

"Get the nectarines. They smell much nicer. There are plenty of ripe ones." He gestures with his head towards the bin to his left.

I squint to see the sign above them. "No."

"Why no?"

"Because they're $2.49 a pound."

"You can afford it."

"I can, but not everyone can. And by paying $2.49 I am justifying the price-gouging by proving that *someone* will overpay and that means that next time, they will be $2.99 a pound and I won't be able to say that's a ridiculous price for nectarines because who am I to talk after I was willing to pay $2.49 a pound?"

"You are a freak," he tells me in a conspiratorial whisper, the way you tell someone that their fly is down or that they have toilet paper stuck to their shoes.

"Hey," I answer easily. "You fight the injustices in this city your way and I fight them in mine."


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