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We are arrant knaves, all

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(Deals with potential triggers such as sexual assault)

(Written with the help of Matthew Murdock)

Foggy Nelson knew about his friend’s boyfriend, and had met him and spoken to him a few times, but it was still a surprise when Hamlet walked into his office and grabbed the nearest chair, dragging it over to his desk and sitting down in it firmly. “We need to talk.”

Foggy pushed a few of his papers to the side. “First of all….hi, Hamlet.”

Hamlet’s mouth twisted. “Hi. I need to talk to you.”

“About Matt?” What else did they have in common?

“Aye.” Hamlet nodded firmly. “About Daredevil.”

He was startled to see Foggy look at him cluelessly, with barely any recognition in his eyes. Suddenly the man blinked, and looked at Hamlet. “Yeah, Daredevil. Of course! I…how did I not know that? I know that.”

Hamlet’s brow furrowed. “Likely your mind was changed to forget your learning.”

“No one can manipulate my  mind,” Foggy said, a bit patiently. He’d forgotten that Hamlet was a little paranoid, and was suppressing a patronizing tone. “That’s not a thing that can happen, I have my metaphorical tinfoil hat on and everything.”

Hamlet slammed his hands down on the desk abruptly. “Listen to me! Foggy, I need you to watch him!”

Foggy stared at Hamlet a little while longer, then wordlessly got up. He went to the coffeemaker and brought back two mugs, sliding one in front of Hamlet. “OK,” he said eventually, eyeing Hamlet’s panicked expression. The Dane’s pale skin was oddly blotchy with red patches from hyperventilation, and his eyes were shining. “OK, I need to watch Matt. Why? What…happened?”

He looked Hamlet over further and noticed more things. The dark bruises around Hamlet’s neck, the reddened brightness of his eyes, and the dagger strapped to his belt. “Who did that?”

Hamlet took a deep breath and a sip of coffee and started to speak.

 

“There’s a man named Zebediah Killgrave, Foggy. Matt called him the purple man, I think. The words he speaks are powerful and you’ll obey his every command, and he has children who possess similar talents. They are…imprisoned by him. I think them to be the reason that Matt’s name and Daredevil’s no longer match in the minds of the populace. I think they did that out of…gratitude.

“But that’s background to the…occurrences.” Hamlet stared into the mug of coffee. “Matt left yesterday morning. He told me he loved me and he’d return late, and so I stayed up for him. And he returned and he kissed me, but it was…different.”

Foggy nodded. “OK. There are purple kids and they’re why I didn’t remember Matt ran around in spandex…sorry,” he added, as Hamlet gave him an imploring look to be quiet.

“It’s Kevlar anyway,” Hamlet muttered. “He said he missed me, I said similar. When he kissed me it was half desperate, and he caught my face in his hand.” Hamlet put his hand up by his jaw to demonstrate. “And I could not…turn away from it, not easily. I asked him what was wrong, he took my shoulders in his hands as if to push me back.”

 

“What’s the matter?”

“I am fine. I miss you.”

The kiss was rougher than it ever had been and he tried to pull back.

“I missed you…too. No, I need you to relax. You don’t seem well…please, what?”

 

Foggy nodded. Hamlet set the coffee down on the desk abruptly and wrapped his arms around himself. “Then he pinned me to a wall.”

Foggy blinked, taken aback. “Hamlet. What?”

 

The crash as a vase was flung off the table and he was picked up by the front of his shirt.

“All you ever do is talk.”

“Matt! Of course I talk, what would you–what are you doing?”

 

Hamlet kept talking, quickly now. “He told me I talk too much, I demanded to know what he was doing, he grabbed at my clothes. I told him to stop!”

Foggy was slowly shaking his head. “No. No, Hamlet, Matt doesn’t do things like that. I don’t disbelieve you or anything, but he would not do that to you. I’m so sorry but something’s wrong here.”

 

Of course there was no answer. What did he think was going on, when hands were working at his waistband?

“No, Matt, no. Not now, no. I promise, later, I need to talk with you. Stop it.”

He knew he needed to say nothing more. He would always stop, and check, and double check. He waited.

“I don’t want to talk.”

Stop it!

He was hardly proud of it, but he’d started screaming in panic.

“And I said shut the fuck up!”

 

“I knew he wouldn’t either!” Hamlet cried. “So I did not hit him from me, I told him to stop, because healways stops. He pressed his hand into my chest to hold me and he did not stop, and so I struck his face. You’ve seen his eyes without the glasses, and they’re beautiful. When I struck him the glasses tumbled and I saw his eyes again. The irises were….violet, and I knew then with utter certainty it was not him.”

He risked a glance up at Foggy, whose eyes were focused on him with an expression half-grateful and half-worried. The man nodded at him to continue.

“He…” Hamlet put his hand over his neck where the bruises were. “Not to choke me, to…keep me still, I think. He was crying, I remember that, but even with the tears he tore at my shirt. I drew a knee up to kick him. He stumbled back from me and in that instant he regained some lucidity, and I ran…”

 

“Matt?”

It was only then he realized what the violet eyes even meant.

“Oh, no….Matt…”

“Stop me.”

So there was someone still there.

“I’m trying…”

 

“Where did you go?”

“Nowhere,” Hamlet said. “He caught my jacket in his hand and snarled my name….” His voice was trailing off, and he shook his head rapidly, trying to recount the events as passionless as he could. “I seized a cane where it lay against the doorframe, I struck his side with it. He fell again and I hit him with a book and that rendered him senseless….my God, I apologized!” he said swiftly.

 

“Hamlet.”

More a growl than anything else, and cut off by a groan of pain.

“Matt…sorry, I’m so sorry.”

 

Foggy reached out and put a hand by Hamlet’s. “It wasn’t his fault. Or yours. If the thing about the…purple is true…”

“I know,” Hamlet said, and he nodded at Foggy. “I know. There’s more.”

“More?” Of course Hamlet wouldn’t let something like that go by without vengeance. Foggy motioned for him to continue.

“There was a knock on the door. There was this…child…who said Daredevil had agreed to help them.” Hamlet looked at the coffee cup again for lack of anything else to watch. “And since Daredevil was…incapacitated…I went with the boy. He led me over rooftops to the back entrance of a bar and I proceeded into it.

In the back room there was this…machine…it amplifies the power Killgrave has, or so I was told. It glowed. Killgrave and a scientist observed a screen, and the children Matt went to rescue before he was overtaken were bound in a corner. I ran to Killgrave, I struck him….he did not fall so easily as Matt had done. He ordered the other man to kill me and the children told him to stop. One had unbound herself by this point, and she moved to go free the others. I think this panicked him and he had to speak to me in hopes I’d call them off.

He asked what I wanted, then, and I told him to reverse his actions on Daredevil. He said it’d be a matter of time, and he’d told Matt to do…” Hamlet’s voice faltered. “To do the worst thing he could think of. I told him to stop talking.”

 

“I told him to do the worst thing he could think to do….what did he try to do to you, Hamlet?”

“There’s no reason why you should know that. Reverse what you did to him. Come not near me!”

A cane was a poor sword but he jabbed it like it would be as useful as one anyway.

“It takes time, but it reverses itself. He…what? Beat you up?”

“Stop talking.”

“No…look at you. If he’d wanted to beat you up he would have…he tried to rape you.”

“Shut up!”

 

He’d kept talking. Hamlet closed his eyes at the memory.

 

“I told him to do the worst thing he could do and he chose that?”

“Stop it, stop talking to me!”

 

“And then I faltered as…as we spoke more, and he drew a gun. The children leapt on him and knocked him to the ground, and I did not think, Foggy! If I had thought I do not know what I’d have done, but I lunged for the pistol and I pointed it at him…” Hamlet’s hands shook and he balled them into fists. “I ran. I left the children, I’m…I’m not proud of that, and you must not believe I’d have done so in a right mind. I went home, I healed Matt, I half dragged him to bed, and I do not know what to do now….”

 

“You hardly look worth the title of worst thing! A little…twink like you?”

“Don’t call me that, don’t talk about me like that!”

 

Foggy watched him. “Hey, Hamlet. Killgrave won’t hurt anyone else and you freed the kids. You did really well, actually.”

“I’m afraid of him!” Hamlet cried. “I don’t want to be! It wasn’t his fault!”

 

“I bet you get manhandled all the time!”

Be quiet or I’ll…”

 

“Let me guess,” Foggy said carefully. “You want me to keep an eye on…well, on his eyes? When he’s here? And make sure it’s OK?”

Hamlet nodded quickly. “Please.”

“Does he know what happened?”

“Yes.” Hamlet’s eyes fluttered closed. “He has been…distraught. He asked to sleep on the couch but I want him near me, only not so much…contact. I do not like the part of me that seizes in worry whenever his hand is near me. It has been only a night that it’s existed and I’m afraid it always will, somehow….”

 

“How far did he get? How long before you had the courage to stand up for yourself?”

 

Foggy frowned, and reached out to pat Hamlet’s shoulder carefully. Hamlet startled at the contact but let it occur. “Hamlet. You know it wasn’t him. And you’re /good/ at thinking your way around things like this, I’ve heard.”

“He asked me if we’d be all right.”

“And will you?”

Hamlet took a deep breath, and picked up the coffee mug silently. He took a long sip of it.

 

After that the gunshot was deafening and he could do nothing but watch the black ooze from Killgrave’s skull and run.

 

“Eventually.”

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