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Don't Make This Weird

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Being friends with a blind guy meant you got over any macho-tough-guy-touch-phobia pretty quickly.  Matt typically held Foggy's arm when they walked, reached out to him whenever he was quiet too long, touched his face (once) to learn what he looked like.  That had been a little weird, but if Matt had actually asked, Foggy would have let him do it again.  He wasn't an asshole.

The first time Matt hugged him had been in college.  They'd just finished a monster of a midterm, and Matt seemed unusually unsettled by the unfamiliar building it was held in.  Foggy didn't get it; he was there to help Matt around, the lecture hall was on the ground floor between a couple of empty chemistry labs, and they were both doing great in the class.  But for some reason Matt was distracted and jumpy.  Foggy gave him a passable pep talk, managed to get a chuckle out of him, and went on to breeze through the test.

Afterward he waited while Matt finished (it took longer than usual, he seriously debated going to get coffee, but the last thing he wanted was for Matt to not be able to find him), walked with him outside, got three steps out the door, and stopped when he felt Matt's hand leave his arm.

Matt was swaying slightly, breathing heavily, blinking rapidly behind his sunglasses.

"Matt? You okay buddy?"

"Fine," Matt said, not sounding fine at all.  "Just..." He trailed off, and Foggy was about to express more serious concern, but suddenly Matt's expression brightened.  "Is anyone around?"

"Not really. I, uh, I think you were the last one to finish."

"Good."  Matt lunged forward and grabbed Foggy's shoulders. He was mostly used to how good Matt was at navagating by sound and feel, but it was still a little startling to be pounced on.  "Hold still," Matt said seriously.  "Don't make this weird."

"What-"

And then he was being hugged.  Not tightly, but it was definitely a hug, with arms around him and a torso pressed against his, and Matt's face nestled into his shoulder.  He could feel Matt's breath rustling his hair.

It only lasted one long awkward minute (there was a clock on the building and Foggy stared at it helplessly the whole time) but when Matt pulled back he seemed in much better shape.

"Thanks."

"Should I ask?"

"If you do, I'm gonna lie."

"Fair enough."  Foggy wrote it off as personal issues, and more or less forgot about it.

More or less.

 

Time passed.  So did they; midterms, finals, and the Bar.  Landman and Zack was the internship all the other graduates were knife-fighting over, and Foggy could hardly believe they'd both gotten it.  Matt, sure, who would be crazy enough not to want the genuinely-talented minority hire?  But all Foggy brought to the table was good grades and a winning smile.

It was only their third day when Matt came in with a red nose and pockets stuffed with tissues, popping menthol cough drops.

Foggy backed off as far as he could as soon as Matt walked in.  "Do not touch me, I don't want to get sick."

"I'm not sick," Matt said, through a nose full of mucus.  "It's just a... reaction."

"Reaction? I thought you didn't have any allergies."

"Bug bomb."

"Wh- In your apartment? Did you set if off by accident?"

"Something like that."  Matt turned his head toward Foggy, a bright expression on his face that made Foggy nervous for some reason.  "Hey.  Hold still."

"Uh... kay?"

They were inside their "workspace" (closet), with the door shut and no room for another person, even if they tried to get in.  But Foggy still glanced around nervously as Matt's fingers found his sleeve, and his body drew closer.

It was less dramatic this time.  Matt still tucked his face up against Foggy's neck, but it was more like a hug than an attack.  It didn't seem to last as long either, although Foggy hadn't turned on his computer yet and he didn't have a clock to stare at.

Matt sighed and released him.  "Thanks."

"Any time?"

Matt grinned.

 

Foggy came to regret that off-the-cuff remark.  At first Matt only took him up on it on rare occasions.  Then every month or so.  Then it was almost weekly.  The worst part was that Foggy could never figure out when it was coming; they'd be having a string of good luck and suddenly he would hear, "Hold still."  Or go shopping and suddenly Matt would ask him to find a private corner.  At least he never did it in public.

Only once, after a few drinks, did Foggy openly protest.  He was walking Matt home, some kind of sewer work on the way making the sidewalk more hazardous than usual, and when they reached his building Matt tried to tug him into the lobby.

"What?  Now?"

"Don't make this weird."

"This was weird five years ago, man." Foggy smiled to show he was joking, and he'd probably had too many drinks because it took him a second to add, "It's okay."

"Does it bother you?" Matt's brow furrowed above his glasses, concern in his voice.

"No!" Foggy said quickly.  "I mean.  It's weird, okay?  I'm not a... hugger, by nature.  And I want to help, you know, whenever you're having problems, but you seem to kind of do it randomly?"

"I... I'm sorry."  Matt rubbed his nose.  "Uh.  I'll see you tomorrow."

"Hey, wait."

"It's okay," Matt smiled.  It was the one he thought was reassuring, but was really heartbreaking.  "Night."

After that Matt didn't hug him for months.

 

***

The new outfit had been a good idea.  Matt didn't show up to work covered in bruises any more, didn't have to make up excuses that, in retrospect, Foggy had to admit were incredibly lame.  And Foggy, well... he still worried, but not as much.  He usually loaded up any new articles about Daredevil to read to Matt later, and watch the way his face twisted in a mixture of embarrassment and pride.

Today though, Matt wasn't listening.  He rubbed the side of his nose now and then, and when Foggy repeated the same sentence three times he didn't even notice.

"Matt!"

"Huh?"

"Where's your head, man? Don't tell me there's a new conspiracy out there already."

"Oh... no. Nothing like that."  He rubbed his nose again, pressing his fingers against his sinuses.  "You know how sensitive my senses are."

"Yeah?"

"There was a car accident on the way here.  Someone's gas tank spilled out into the street.  I can't seem to get the fumes out."

"Of your nose?"  Foggy wrinkled his.

"Yeah," Matt sighed, and made a sort of snuffing sound.  "Hey, could I-" He stopped.

"What?"

"Nothing, it's weird."  He gave that unreassuring smile.

"Come on man."  Foggy glanced over his shoulder.  Karen was making coffee, carefully holding the scoop up to the light to measure the grounds.  "You... need a hug?"

Matt couldn't stare.  Even with his other senses, the best he could manage was pointing his face in the appropriate direction.  But the look he was directing at Foggy was close enough.

"What?  It helps, right?  With uh... stuff."

"With this.  Specifically."

"Yeah. Wait. What?"

Matt stood abruptly and walked around his desk.  Foggy swayed backward, bumping into the door.

"Wait, wait. I'm okay with it, but throw me a bone here.  How does hugging help fix your nose?"

"It's you," Matt said.  He sounded nearly as serious as he did when he wore the mask.  "Your smell."

"Come on, man, I shower."

"I know.  I know the shampoo you use, your aftershave, even your brand of razor since it's one of the ones with the moisturizing strip."

"Uh... That's creepy? But I guess it makes sense."

"We lived together, Foggy.  We see each other every day.  Your smell is like my smell, it's whitenoise.  Like a... a palate cleanser."

The truth sunk in.  "All those times you hugged me, you were smelling me?"

Matt nodded, having the decency to look sheepish.

"Still creepy.  But okay, whatever dude."  He spread his arms.  "Bring it in."

Matt hugged him and buried his nose in his hair, inhaling like a man drowning.