They slap at and make fun of each other, rib and stir and laugh. Neither of them is this person on their own.
Matt is envious. His friendship with Foggy is a beautiful, patronising thing.
“Are we going to get this legal work done?” he asks.
“I… just…” Luke fumbles with his sake glass. “Hang on…” he necks it.
Danny looks at Matt, as if he’s about to apologize. Luke hits the underside of his hand, forcing the drink up into his mouth. Danny sputters, they both laugh.
“Went up my nose…”
“Lawyers and rich boys…!” Luke laughs more.
Danny slaps him, hard, smiling because he knows Cage will barely feel it.
“Don’t ‘boy’ me!”
“Stop ‘boying’ me.”
“Rich, blond. My… white……kid,” Luke laughs again, doubled over,
spilling his drink. “What y’all reckon, Murdock?”
Matt says nothing.
“Drink another,” Luke tells Danny.
Danny looks down at the bottle. Necks it.
“Good,” says Luke.
Matt’s smile slowly fades. Luke is a great man, the best, proud and noble. But Matt is starting to see the reason for his reputation on the booze, why he stays off it most of the time.
Luke staggers to his feet, putting his loosely clenched fists up.
“C’m’on rich kid, blond whatever, lets slap it around some…”
“Luke…” Danny sways. “Stop showing off for-“
“C’m’on… We can get your lawyer chum in on it… A threesome… Haha!”
Danny slaps away Luke’s fist, but is so drunk he falls over.
“My lawyer chum? Why’s Matt my friend and not yours?” he asks, with a wobbly grin.
“Y’know…” Luke staggers over to Matt, putting Danny’s mask on him, all crooked.
“C’m’on, Murdock…”Luke snaps the bottle of sake off Danny and downs more of it. “Pussy, pussy lawyer…You two, both, skinny, white b-…… ninjas…haha!”
“My upbringing was in its own way as rough as yours. Luke,” Matt smiles.
“Aw, don’t be like…” Luke says, patting Matt’s mask-covered face with his massive, sloppy hand. “C’m’on… Ya don’t wanna fight, ya don’t wanna fight… This spoon-fed little rich kid, however, will-“
Matt Murdock twists Luke’s arm, axe kicks to the back of his head, driving it, with his heal, through the table, into the ground.
“Are we playing now…?” Luke’s voice says.
Danny laughs a desperate laugh, trying to smooth over things.
“Stop disrespecting Iron Fist,” Matt says.
“That’s… that’s just some ninja bullshit, a name that’s holding him back. He’s Danny, man. Like the song. My little Danny bo- Aarg!”
Snared by Luke’s baiting, Matt slams a hard palm into the back of his skull, then, as Luke gets up, gets him in a headloc with one arm, while kicking at Danny, who attacks him. In a twist, Matt, fully grimacing, has Luke by the throat, foot extended in the arch of his back, giving no leverage, while, with his other foot and arm, he and Danny have each other pinned. Danny makes to swing with his free hand at Matt.
“Right, you honky shyster…” Luke grumbles, making a fist. “Time to break
Danny uses his free hand to slam Luke’s fist into the wall and hold it there. The three men are in a stand-off. For a second none of them speak.
“A fine howdy-do…” Luke grunts.
Murdock grimaces that bit more.
“Tell him, Danny!” he snaps.
“What do you-“
“I have ripped open a ninja’s heart, Daniel Rand. And looked inside to all they are and know.”
“Matt, you aren’t of a level where…”
“I know. Tell him!”
“Luke, time works different in Shangrila.”
“Big whoop,” Luke grunts.
“My training took 60 years.”
“So tell me over a few Buds. Right now I wanna be breaking Lawyer-Boy’s arm.”
“Have you heard of the Spartans, Luke?” Matt asks.
“Who ain’t? I’m not dumb ‘cause I’m black, motha.”
“Did you know that they tortured their own from birth, so that only the toughest survived? The Spartan warriors wer butchered by their own, their entire lives, given nothing, frozen, cut, poisoned, beaten, scarred. No breaks, no mercy. They lived with no touch or compassion beyond pain. Survival of the fittest, only the best, the hardest could endure. Imagine the pain.”
“There. Entire. Lives.”
“So many didn’t make it. That’s why, when the Roman’s finally came for them there were only thirty left.”
“Thirty almost beat three fucking legions!”
“Their average age was 22.”
“Whoop with ice-cream. What does this have to do with Danny and me clowning around? He couldn’t beat me in a fight, anyways.”
“No. You’re too big, too tough. Damn tough. He could kill you, though. The Spartans based what they were on the practices of Shangrila. 60 years of torture, Luke. Why do you think he hangs on to you so desperately? Why he loves you so much? His brother?”
“Cause I’m fucking loveable?”
“And when you’re drunk, you act like you own him…? An Iron Fist?”
Murdock punches down hard on the back of Luke’s head. To do so he has released his grip on Danny’s fist, which follows through, just skimming Murdock’s temple. They both kick and swivel, Danny in the air. As they do, their eyes meet for a second, no more.
“You fucking ninjas!” Luck says, still on the ground. “You just had a whole angry-assed conversation with that peep, didn’t-“
Matt’s foot comes down hard on Luke’s head again, knocking him back down. Matt and Danny fight in close, then separate into a stand-off… and are hit by a flying couch.
“Don’t act like I ain’t here!” Luke shouts.
Matt is perched on a dressing table, Danny ready for him at ground level. Matt has a broken nose.
There is a moment’s silence between the three of them.
“My bad,” Luke says.
Danny, keeping his fighting stance towards Matt, turns his eyes to Luke.
“Don’t apologise to me, Luke. I’m not offended!”
“Yes you are…” says Matt.
“No, Matt, you are, when you have no right to be!”
“Yes you are, Danny,” says Luke. “And if not you should be.”
“I grew up in the ghetto, Danny. Pride and anger kept me goin’. So many of us used it to survive. Sometimes I look around at my new white world and get frustrated. Angry. The sort of anger that put me in jail, that got me this steel skin. Can y’all believe it? I miss the ghetto! It ain’t right or fair. I love ya, man.”
Cage hugs Danny, smothering him. Danny, arms pinned, looks awkwardly over Luke’s massive shoulder.
“You, not so much,” Luke says, to Matt. “Joking. C’m’ere, Murdock.”
Luke pulls Matt in to the hug.
When Luke’s lips are right over Matt’s ear, he whispers: “We’ll finish this another time.”
“Luke…” Matt starts.
“LOVE!” Cage shouts.
“Luke, Danny can hear you. Stop underestimating him.”
Luke still hugging the two of them, pulls back to look at Danny, who is giving him a crooked, perplexed grin. Danny takes another swig from the bottle.
“Tanked…” says Luke, sitting on his arse. “My bad… A lotta ang… er… Zzzzzzzzzzz.”
Danny does a hammy little “HAI…!” pushing over the sleeping Luke with one finger. Biting his tongue in concentration, taking another sip, he draws a moustache and glasses on him using baking powder.
“Bed…” Danny says, wobbling to his feet, again. He staggers towards the stairs to his room. “Love you Luke… Night Murdock…”
“I guess we’ll be doing the paperwork tomorrow…” Matt says, noticing Danny called him Murdock because Luke did.
Almost like a warning, a threat between friends, hard and sure. You will NOT fight my partner.
“T’m’rrow…” Danny staggers into darkness.
THUMP! He passes out in the hallway.
Matt is left alone in the trashed room, listening to them both snoring like chainsaws.
Lads, he thinks.
Murdock has to get out of there. Take to the rooftops before bitterness consumes him. His jealousy of them is palpable.