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Marvel Legends

Long Night in the City

Marvel Legends

Long Night in the City

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The air is muggy, steamy, as though the whole city has just stepped out of the shower. Moving through the wet air is like breathing through a warm, wet washcloth. The large, plate glass windows of the various bars and dives on the outskirts of the Kitchen would no doubt be obscured with fog, condensation beading inside of the glass. It's a quiet, uncomfortable night, one that would be best spent indoors with minimal clothing, a whirring fan oscillating, windows open. That would be the sensible thing to do, at least.

Costumed heroes have never been regarded as a particularly sensible bunch, so that factor alone perhaps explains the presence of one of New York's masked guardians keeps vigil on the edge of his territory, the muddy border between Hell's Kitchen and Times Square where the grime of the tenements and the subdued glitz of the Off Broadway theaters bleed together. Despite the Kitchen's close proximity to the glittering intersection of Seventh Avenue and Broadway, this is not a safe place, and of late there has been a spike in the number of inebriated out-of-towners who strayed too close to "Midtown West," paying for their misadventure with the contents of their wallets and, occasionally, their blood. It only took a few broken bones and mild concussions for the Kitchen's wildlife to remember their place - at least along the border.

Despite the severity of his methods, there are still some members of Hell's Kitchen's criminal element who are slow to learn. Thus, the neighborhood's Guardian Devil has taken to adding an extra pass over the border to his nightly route. Daredevil lifts a gloved hand to his face, wiping away sweat that trickled from under his mask down to the point of his chin, flicking the moisture away. "Damn this weather..." he whispers, shifting on the lip of the building's roof, listening intently to the ground traffic below.

Summer's last gasp before the first crisp snap of autumn broke the interminable spell of heat and humidity. It would be a welcome change. In the meantime, Matt may have to pay a certain Dr. Richards a visit to tweak the moisture-wicking capabilities of his suit. "Another swing over, then I'll head home," Murdock promises himself, rolling stiff shoulders, then leaning over the ledge again, listening.
  • A familiar heartbeat is certain to be noticed, right about the same time as Daredevil's keen senses note the impact of a pair of feet on the rooftop behind him - the acrobatic figure attached to them landing in a crouch.

    "Oh, look, somebody put one of the gargoyles in a red costume!"
    • "Hnh..." Murdock amiably growls. "Don't you have a kitten to pull out of a tree or something? I'm working." Daredevil turns from the building's ledge the look of feigned annoyance falling away when a familiar - and much beloved - scent hits his olfactory centers.

      Mustard, ketchup, onions, and sweet relish on a foot long dog. "The Spider comes bearing gifts," he says, a smile spreading over the exposed part of his face.
      • Peter chuckles, holding out the paper bag with Daredevil's present.

        "From Marco's hot dog stand, over on Bleeker. Only the best. Of course, I actually wanted to talk to you about something in your area of expertise, so maybe we can call it a retainer.."

        He moves to stand next to Matt, near the building's edge, fishing out his own dog with chili, mustard, and onions.
        • A genuine grin spreads over Matt's face as he accepts the bag from Parker, reaching inside, retrieving the hot dog, the smell wafting up through the open paper bag. Wonderful.

          "Matt Murdock needs to make a point of stopping by Marco's," he muses, setting the bag down and taking a hearty bite out of one end. "Daredevil would probably just scare the hell out of the guy. Your costumed alter ego is so much cuddlier than mine."

          Retainer, eh? "If you need a reference for a property damage dispute, I'm sure Reed or Sue would be happy to give you one. Been representing them for years," Murdock says, reaching into the bag and, to his surprise, finding a napkin, wiping at his mouth.
          • "Har-de-Har. I hear they're looking for comedians at Open Mic night at the club up the street."

            He noshes on the hotdog, hopping up on the ledge as he chews, waiting till he swallows to go on.

            "Nah, some sleazeball producer paid a guy to pretend-stalk M.J. Creepy letters, photos, the works. We have proof and everything, and I've straightened him out, but with this guy, I'm worried it may not stick. Always possible we may need to pursue legal action against him."

            There's a pause.

            "Though, you'd better not wear that suit in court."
            • Murdock takes a seat beside his friend on the building's ledge, eating alongside him. It really is an amazing dog - almost as good as the one's at Shea. The stadium is a cesspit and in desperate need of being torn down and rebuilt, but few things are better than a quality ballpark frank.

              "You know, I'd think about it, but I'd be arrested on-site, and I'm sure you can imagine how many criminal charges I'd get slapped with. They wouldn't be able to read me my Mirandas fast enough," Daredevil quips. Matt's costumed alter-ego hasn't enjoyed quite the same level of celebrity as Parker's, after all.

              The napkin is retrieved again and Matt wipes at his mouth before continuing. There's no appreciable jump in Parker's heart rate, nor does he exude any of the physiological reactions that accompany a jump in stress hormones - meaning that M.J. must not have come to any harm.

              "So, this would be a completely civil matter," he says, continuing the train of thought aloud. "Cease and desist order, that sort of thing." Another bite of the hot dog. "What's this about a sleazeball producer, anyway? Your better half land a film role I'm not aware of?"
  • "Quit complaining," Murdock replies, knowing that Parker cannot hear him - he's simply too far away. Swinging up onto a fire escape, Daredevil pushes off the railing, firing the grapnel again in mid-fall, swinging low into an alley between two dilapidated tenements.

    "No! Please, I gave you my wallet! Just leave us alone! It's all in there, please!" comes a frantic male voice. Five heartbeats - and at least one of those belongs to a woman, judging from that perfume.

    Daredevil's boots strike the wet pavement and he stands to his full height, blocking the alley, arms out to the side, a club clutched in each gloved fist. "Pretty bold - three on two." He recognizes two of these men, and the tremor in the third man's breathing leaves no doubt as to why he's committing aggravated assault and robbery. "Reg, Jerome. We've been through this. Tell your friend to drop that piece and I'll go easy on you."

    "He's just one guy, man, we can take him," the third man whispers to his compatriots.

    "I wouldn't count on it - I've got backup."
    • Spider-Man drops from the rooftops to land in a crouch next to Daredevil, smiling under the mask at the three would-be muggers.

      "Hello, gentlemen. I'm with the Vigilante Exchange Program, doing outreach work in this neighborhood.."
      • Gloved fingers tighten around the clubs in each clenched fist, the material of his costume squeaking audibly around the weapons. The soft glow of the moon is obscured by a fire escape rail high overhead, casting long, slender shadows along the ground, black stripes obscuring Murdock's masked face. He smiles - a terrible sight on his devilish visage.

        "Holy shit, man! That's the dude! The Spider-Dude!" Reg shouts, pointing at Parker with the trembling tip of his knife.

        The smile falls from Daredevil's face at that. "You were warned." With a practiced flick of his wrist, Daredevil flings a club forward, the missile darting between the two unfortunate pedestrians, striking Reg and Jerome's unwitting accomplice in the forehead, sending him to the ground in a collapsed heap.

        A moment later, that same hand reaches out to pluck the club from the air and the grin returns.
        • "Are all your muggers that dumb? Maybe I just get a better class of criminal up in Soho.."

          He leaps into action, firing twin lines of webbing at the criminals' hands, bounding forward to launch a kick at the midriff of the nearest one.
          • "You bust guys for playing their car stereos too loud as their cruising the boulevards of Midtown," Daredevil replies, taking a step forward, flicking his wrist and thumbing the actuator on his club, firing the concealed grapnel line.

            The end of the line wraps around the remaining mugger's ankle, and Murdock gives a sharp tug, dropping him hard onto the grimy pavement.

            "Yeah, you're a real hero, Webhead."
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