Matthew's conversation with Foggy had been brief, but full of both grief and forgiveness in equal measure. It was clear to Murdock that what he had previously assumed was an unshakable bond between the two friends had indeed been stirred by the initial impact and fallout as Kingpin's plans unfolded before the city; but despite lingering paranoia and conspiratorial whispers, Foggy still believed in Matt, and that was enough. There had been apologies from both sides, wordless explanations of thoughts and feelings, secrets implied and trust shared and rebuilt, and ultimately a reaffirmation of support, loyalty, and above all, faith. Faith was so important now; Matthew clung to his faith in the belief that he was on the right path, his faith that he would not allow himself to stumble and fall in the face of such terrible adversity. His faith that Wilson Fisk, Kingpin of New York, was simply a man, and would be felled as such.
They had decided between them - Nelson and Murdock, partners forever - that Foggy was not safe. It felt obvious and remained unspoken by either of them, but the implication was there: if Foggy stayed, he was a target. They had discussed options, each one feeling less desirable than the last, and Foggy had eventually accepted that he needed to leave the city, perhaps even the state, and to take Karen with him. One of his firm's major partners had a soft spot for Foggy, and an understanding of his relationship with Matthew; initially, the offer of a temporary leave of absence had been then rejected from pride and disbelief, but now seemed prudent to accept, thereby removing Foggy and Karen from danger's path. Matthew would miss them terribly, and worry about them constantly; but Foggy had soothed him and they had said goodbyes with warm, hopeful voices. Matthew would regret their absence. A small part of him felt suddenly un-tethered, as if another lifeline to his humanity had been severed.
The officer that had brought him his phone still had not returned, and Murdock smelt freshly burning tobacco and sugary coffee through the cracked window pane of his cell. The man in the cell at the end of the corridor had not stirred through all the commotion since Matthew's arrival, nor through his conversation; whatever had put him under had put him under deep. His heartbeat was slow and steady and did not flicker or falter. Matt sighed, still trying to ignore the stench that oozed from the man's still, prone form, and turned his attention back to his phone. He tapped the screen lightly with his thumbs, feeling the warmth of the display as it lit up in response through his fingertips. He wondered if Elektra would want to speak to him, if she had even seen the news.
"Command: Call Elektra."
His phone whirred silently as it connected the call, and vibrated as it began ringing. Matthew held his breath as he brought the phone to his ear. All other sounds ceased as he listened to the ringing and the ringing only, every new peel of the tone a renewal of his desire to speak to her, touch her, explain his behavior and apologize for the way he'd treated her, beg for forgiveness and understanding and repentance. The phone rang on.
There was a click and a tone and a gap in the air where everything paused - and then another click as the answering machine activated. Elektra's recorded voice came through muffled and ragged.
"Matt, if this is you, I've gone back to my father for a while. I'll call you. I need some time to...think about things. If this is anyone else...don't bother leaving a message."
Another click and then a dead tone. Matt let his hand fall to his side as he hung up.
When the officer returned some time later, having been sternly reminded by her section chief, she found his phone placed on the floor just beyond the bars of his cell, and Matthew himself asleep on his cot, back towards her, his suit jacket folded neatly on the floor, and his tinted glasses resting on top.
It was dark outside when Matthew was awoken. He couldn't see the light, or lack thereof, but he could feel the cooler, more crisp night air seeping into the building, and he heard the soft rustling and low coos of nesting pigeons on the roof above his cell. Beyond the holding cells the station was quiet, with only subtle ticking of clocks and dripping of loose taps and leaky pipes rhythmically breaking the silence for microseconds at a time, each tiny burst of sound exploding outwards along walls and surfaces to paint the world for Matthew as it went. A few yards down the corridor, through a electronic door with magnetic seals - the most advanced tech in the station, Matthew realized, noting how poorly equipped the Hell's Kitchen precinct really was for the rapidly evolving world beyond the New York borough - he could hear the low rumble of snores from the officer on the graveyard shift.
Matt sat up quietly and moved towards the bars, feeling the floor where he had left his phone some hours ago; nothing. He hadn't expected it to be there, but it would have been a useful surprise. Instead, he sat back on his cot, reaching out with his senses and paying attention to the building and the air. Something had stirred him from his sleep, though he could not place what - but the longer he listened, the more something felt off: the sounds felt oddly layered, and louder than they should be; the air currents were subtly wrong and illogical, pushing heat around in unanticipated patterns; the smells present were expected, but seemed muted and suppressed, like breathing through a cloth. Though his senses were clear, he felt somehow stifled, suppressed...
Suddenly the veil appeared to lift, and Matthew pushed himself forwards off the cot, ducking low and rolling left away from the back corner of his cell he had felt the movement from. It all rushed in immediately: the man's heartbeat, the heat of his body, the air pushing in and out from his ragged breathing, and that smell of cheap whiskey, hard drugs, and poor hygiene. It all swelled out of his assailant like some fetid aura and Matthew shook to his core at the thought that this ragged beast of a man had hidden from him so effectively.
The ragged man chuckled, low and filled with malice, and withdrew his arm from the vicious thrust that he had intended as a killing blow. He brought his hand up and Matthew now realized his weapon: a hypodermic needle. He pressed the plunger ever so slightly and cool liquid spilled from the tip. Matthew was hit with the pungent odor of liquid morphine - bitter and chemical - and it suddenly seemed all so obvious. Drugs were already part of the accusation. The media would lap up an overdose in prison. The assassin licked the droplet from the needle, and Matthew heard his heartbeat slow and felt his body-heat recede into his torso.
"You'll have to try harder than that." Matt threatened, and he got only a wheezy, humorless laugh in response as the ragged man straightened up.
He thrust forward again in one quick, clean motion, arm trailing behind before swinging forwards needle-first towards Matthew's neck; from his crouched position Matt rolled sideways once more and took a low sweep at the legs. The ragged man drew one up out of the way and hopped back on the other, landing gracefully. The arm with the needle hung low and limp; Matt noticed the other was strapped in tightly to his chest, moving little. Matt stood, the ragged man opposite, each waiting for the other to take the first move. The ragged man swayed slightly on the spot, lilting left to right and back again, his movements almost mesmeric. He bobbed for a few seconds - and then faked left before jabbing right with his free arm, grazing Matt's neck as he pulled backwards and duck under, spinning as he went and taking another low sweep, this time catching the ragged man's ankle and causing him to stumble into the back wall of the cell. The needle dropped as the ragged man used his free arm to catch himself, and Matthew quickly brought a foot down, snapping the tip and smashing the glass syringe. Morphine vapors exploded into the air and the ragged man swung back around.
"That was for the clean option." He snarled, lunging at Matthew again - only this time, Matthew pushed himself into it with one foot, raising the other to plant his shoe square in the ragged man's chest and impact what Matthew suspected was a weak arm. He was proven right as the ragged man gasped in shock and pain, pushed backwards to bounce against the wall. Matt grabbed the ragged man's free arm and wrenched him forwards again, putting the butt of his hand into the ragged man's back between his shoulder blades as he went; the ragged man slammed hard against the bars, his free arm stretching out between them into the corridor beyond, and Matt moved quickly, putting a knee in the bottom of the ragged man's spine before stepped to the side, grabbing his forearm from through the bars and pulling sharply in the wrong direction.
There was a snap and a squelch and Matt's head rang from the smell of blood and the scream of the ragged man in his ear. Matt stepped back as the ragged man slumped to the floor, snapped arm stuck outside the bars, blood dripping. Matt heard the snores of the night guard stop and snort as he woke to the scream; he didn't have much time. He knelt and roughly seized the ragged man's face in his hand.
"Where is Fisk? How did you hide from me?"
The ragged man chuckled through labored, wheezing breaths.
"He is hidden, as I hid from you. The Hand has you now. You struggle, like a rat, convulsing death spasms."
Matt punched him in the nose. He heard the night guard fumbling with his keys at the end of the corridor. "I don't care who you are, or how you hide. Where is he."
"You are a fool. Fisk did not hire The Hand. He asked for a blessing. We will find you. You will die. Make your peace, Matthew Murdock."
Matt heard a clicking from behind the ragged man's teeth and immediately realized what he was doing; he pushed his hand over his mouth, trying to wrench his jaw open and remove the capsule, but he was too slow - the ragged man had already bitten down and swallowed, and now he foamed from the back of his throat through Matt's fingers as the poison capsule took hold. The ragged man shuddered once, then lay still.
Matt swore. Behind him he heard the night guard finally opening the door to his office, grasping clumsily at the clasps of his holster; Matt stood, leaving the ragged man's corpse behind. The door to his cell was open, key still in the lock; he moved quietly to the end of the corridor, waiting for the guard to come around it. He did so in a hurry, not paying attention - Matt took him by surprise, sweeping his legs out while pushing him to the floor with his hand, a quick jab to the forehead putting the guard out cold. Matt took the baton from the guard's belt and left the station.
The night was deep and long; Fisk was out there, and he was scared, cowering behind this new cabal of assassins. Matt could smell the desperation; he would draw Kingpin out. He craned his neck towards the sky, and felt the sword of Damocles hanging perilously above the city. One way or another, this great struggle would end.