Lies and Ommissions
Roleplaying Log: Lies and Ommissions
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Danny brings Matt to the Merit Center to get his read on Colleen. No one is particularly good at keeping their secrets.

Other Characters Referenced: Jessica Jones
IC Date: January 21, 2019
IC Location: Merit Community Center, Hell's Kitchen, New York City
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 28 Jan 2019 03:23
Rating & Warnings: R (Language)
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

In the Merit Center, Colleen does not don her gi. It isn't that she does not honor the dojo the Merit Center provides, but she dresses like her kids — like her students — creating a space of community through their shared street clothes and bare feet. Their class is finishing, an attentive group of eight year olds all bowing to the Sensei as she bows back. Their heads roll forward, respectfully, and she smiles through her own bow at their collective control and peaceful measure. It has taken her the last four weeks to find this stability with this group — but giving Colleen the most troublesome class was her call. She could handle it, and has.

She claps her hands together, and as if that has broken the spell of calm around the group, they all break into easy laughs and smiles. Three race together to get their shoes on, another two linger back to wait for Colleen's goodbyes. The others take their time to pack up to meet their parents outside. Colleen squeezes a boy's shoulder. "You did good today, now… remember that calm tomorrow." He nods gravely, mumbles something, and then sees to his shoes while Colleen watches the others make their departures, each leaving the dojo. She turns when the last child leaves, and begins to go through the process of straightening up, picking up bo-staves and kick pads.

It was a conscious decision to not require the kids to have uniforms - at least for now. Once they're all set up, there will be funds set aside for that, but it's also less intimidating for the kids to just play around in their normal clothes. Putting a gi on requires a certain amount of commitment, and these kids who have been through having their neighbourhood torn apart, need to just have fun as a community. But it also presented an extra challenge to get the kids to take it seriously. It's a balance.

—-

Danny's been watching for the last few minutes. One of the kids runs up and hugs his legs on the way out, the other gives a hi-5. They're the kids from the pre-Christmas class before he handed the reins over to Colleen. He's in a suit and tie - cool gray with a black tie, slim-cut but not fussy - which suggests he came here from Rand. "If you're wondering where Ariel is, her dad changed her visitation day. We're trying to get her into another class." He enters, stepping easily out of his wing tips before moving to help her with the equipment.

—-

Colleen turns. The motion is a small pivot that starts in her feet and travels through her hips and shoulders — it has a fluidity to it that suggests it could easily be the initial motion that carries a kick with it. She's a fighter, but Danny's figured that out. Her brown eyes maintain a steady stoicism — but it's maintained out of caution. She's not been in the same room with Danny since the hall of his house. "Hey."

Then she turns back to set the kick pads in a stack on the shelf before she hoists up a staff in a casual toss, catching it at its middle. "I noticed she was gone." Of course Colleen did, but it's the obligatory participation in this conversation. "She's a good student. Whoever's class she lands in will gain themselves a real superstar." Then she tosses the staff to Danny as he approaches, confident now that he will catch it.

—-

"It might not be a karate class, unfortunately. We're not up to full programming speed yet. But we'll definitely try to keep her engaged. She's made friends here. She was pretty sad to not be in your class anymore." Danny plucks the staff from the air and carries its momentum so it rolls easily over his knuckles and back into his hand. It's actually rather freeing for him to be around someone else who knows what he can do. He's a bad liar, and he hates lying. It's strange that he's more honest with his body when he's in vigilante garb.

He steps across and leans the staff along with the others. "The uh…the class going well? Do you have what you need?" Smooooth small talk.

—-

Colleen's brow just slightly perks at his attempt at small talk. Her head cocks slightly to one side, taking in the billionaire Iron Fist with a casual, if not slightly bemused expression. "Uh, yeah." She glances around the empty dojo before she takes up a second staff, leaning into it with her elbow resting at the blunted head. "Class is great, the kids are great, the dojo is great." Everything is great. Her thin lips press together, then she curls her hand around the middle of the staff before she steps forward to set her staff with the others.

"Jessica came to see me." She sets the staff with the one Danny just put away, careful of its balance. Then she looks up at Danny, arms crossing casually — or perhaps not so casually given her protective, guarded body language. "She's good at her job. Knows when just to come out and say that she's checking to make sure I'm not going to sell your secrets to the tabloids or anything."

Don't worry. She checked to make sure the door to the dojo was closed before she said that.

—-

Danny clears his throat. "Yeah um. Sorry." He blushes a little. "She didn't…interrogate you, did she?" He idly sort of skootches the staff collection to be equidistant for no good reason other than it gives him something to do with his hands. "I'm just…my impulse is always to trust people. Jess is more cynical than me. It's not personal. I'm just…" stepping in it? Yeah. He tries to lean on the wall, forgetting there's a staff there. It falls, but he catches it lightning fast - too fast, and flips it back up into place.

Danny Rand, the world's most awkward superninja.

—-

They're alone, out of earshot, or so Colleen Wing thinks. But earshot is relative; some people are borderline deaf, while others are…

…well. Matt Murdock.

And the fact is that their whole conversation, all its awkward ins and outs, has been perfectly audible to the man who is even now tap-tap-tapping his way to the dojo door.

—-

Can they hear it before his fair, bespectacled, stubble-featured face appears in the glass? Surely they can hear his knock.

"We had tea."

Then Colleen starts to smile, and there's a little edge of something warm behind that simple, almost slight upward twitch in her expression. It breaks through some of the stoicism of her expression. Danny's goofiness has that superpower. "She didn't interrogate me. Much." She slides her hands into the pockets of her white heathered joggers, bare feet shifting on the flooring in an idle motion. She would settle more into herself, but Danny's knocking over the staves, and so she's moving hastily to help. But, awkward superninja beats her to it, and instead she's just fumbling a few more of the weapons before both hands press them back against the wall.

Blessed Ancestors.

All the rattling and fumbling catches the Sensei's senses off-guard, and she blinks at the knock. She checks for forgotten shoes and jackets, and then frowns. "Uh, come in?"

—-

Suddenly, Danny is regretting asking another one of his friends to check out Colleen, considering Jess already had her turn. But it's too late to backtrack now. "Oh, that's um…" he holds up one finger, then trots over to the door and gets it for the blind man. "Heeey, Matt. Come in. It's a dojo so um, stay towards the edge or take your shoes off." He backs out of the way so the other man can come in.

He steps further into the room. "Um, Matt Murdock, this is Colleen Wing. She teaches the kids karate class. Colleen, this is Matt, a friend of mine. And a lawyer. A…lawyer…friend. He has some papers and things…because he's…he's my lawyer." He swings a hand and snaps his fingers.

So smooth.

—-

"Hey Danny," Matt says, offering the man a quick and affable smile as he steps into the dojo, seeming perfectly at ease. Unlike the scion of Rand, Murdock is utterly at home in bullshit.

He offers the canvas bag in one hand towards the general direction of Rand's voice. "Docs are in there," Matt says with a nod towards it, less because it's super-urgent they be seen and more so he can get both his hands free and begin breaking down his walking cane and taking off his brown oxfords. "Have someone from Rand get them back to my office by 10am tomorrow, okay?"

To Colleen, a flash of a genuine smile, with no particular attempt to aim it. "Hey, Colleen," he says. "Nice to meet you. You a student, or a teacher?"

—-

Colleen's brow arches once more at Danny even while she turns toward Matt at the introduction. She sighs out a soft breath, but with it comes a relatively easy smile. Alright. Met the PI, now meeting the lawyer.

"Hi, Danny's Lawyer Friend who is not here to tell me that I could be sued for libel if I tell anyone about Danny's nightlife." There's not a single change in her straightforward tone, no amusement or bemusement. She might as well have told Matt she was pleased to meet him. Only Matt would hear the slightest uptick of her heart — but it settles with a single inhale that fills Colleen's belly, and is released quite subtly without an obvious flare of nostrils. The meditative breath is quiet, calm, and casual. Matt's question at least earns a slight quirk of her lips once more. "Teacher. Karate, among other things."

The Sensei casts a glance toward Danny, and her hands do resume their casual pocketing in her joggers.

—-

Danny's ears have turned the most striking shade of magenta. "No it's just…papers." He takes the bag from Matt and holds it up. See?! Totally legit papers. "If I uh, if I wanted to spook you with legal stuff I'd've sent J-Money." Not that Matt can't be intimidating, but Jeri Hogarth has the whole ice queen of New York thing going on. Matt's the lawyer with his heart on his sleeve, at least by appearances. "Corporate…corporate lawyer," he adds, clarifying nothing.

He takes a moment to take a breath that is very clearly meditative and meant to steady his heart rate. Whufff.

—-

Matt's eyebrows shoot up with surprise at Colleen's quip. But if he takes offense at Danny's reply, he doesn't seem to show it, instead offering a rueful smile that screams: aww, shucks.

"I didn't come to threaten anyone with anything, Ms. Wing," Matt answers equably as he leans back against the wall of the dojo so he can pry off one shoe, then another. "Though I admit I had been meaning to get a look at this place for a while." What, is he joking? What's next may explain it: "My dad was a boxer, and I spent a lot of time around training gyms. This — uh. Smells better."

Matt's no stranger to the cool, calming meditative breath he hears from Colleen. He has to take one himself now and again. Sometimes because of Danny Rand. To Danny, he says: "Did I, ah, come at a bad time?"

—-

"Maybe we can just cut the bullshit," Colleen's words have just a slight edge to them — and it masks a bit of hurt. Matt sure does put up a pretty good face, but Danny is never going to be recruited for a spy job. There was a good reason she was honest with Jessica — as much as she could be. Jess had that straightforward approach she appreciated. Here, she feels her defenses kick-in as the bullshit warms and stinks up the air. "Look, Mr. Murdock… I'm going to tell you exactly what I told Jessica Jones: I'm not going to tell anyone about Danny. I gave him my word I would keep his secret." Her dark eyes cut toward Danny briefly before she looks back at Matt. "I'm not interested in money, or fame, or getting Danny in trouble with Rand. First, it would cost me my work here at Merit." She likes Merit. Perhaps even adores it. Her fingers flex in her pockets, curling into loose fists.

Her heart tightens up in her chest a moment, and the sole of one foot slides across the ground, her heel lifting as her knee bends to accommodate the slow movement. She flexes her toes — another unconscious way she settles her nerves and grounds herself. Lawyer are threatening, but no worse than ninjas. "And second," she continues after a bit too long of a pause, "exposing Danny would just put him in danger." And I wouldn't do that.

Those words are unspoken, but they echo about her head. There's something to that, something honest. But beneath it, there's also something else there — a protectiveness.

—-

There would have never been a good time to come into this conversation, Danny thinks to himself. But to Matt, he shakes his head. "No, no, it's fine. Sorry, I should've met you downstairs. But yeah, this still has the new gym smell. Careful though, uh, we mostly have kid classes. Might find something sticky gets attached to your sock." That's clearly speaking from experience.

He's about to open his mouth to say something else, but then Colleen cuts right to the quick of it. His jaw clenches. He drops his head and looks at his toes for a moment. He stays bent like that for a half a second.

Then he says, softly, "I believe you, Colleen. I'm sorry if..I just…have so much to lose. And my friends all tell me," he looks towards Matt, "…that I'm too trusting. That I'm not careful enough. I didn't…ask Matt here to threaten you with some law suit. I just…wanted to know if he felt I could trust you. That's all."

—-

"Jess came to see you," Matt says, greeting that new information with puff of wry, quiet breath as his friend adopts that hangdog look.

No such apology or guilt can be found on Matt's sphinx-like features. "Danny has a lot of people who feel the same way you do, Ms. Wing," he says, bringing himself back to an upright stand from his lean against the wall. "Who want to protect him. He kind of brings that out in people."

There's a beat. "I believe you, for what it's worth. But — as long as we're cutting the bullshit — I still have a few questions. About that night, and just in general." There's a brief quirk of a smile. "Mind indulging another one of Danny's guard dogs?"

—-

The combination of the downcast look from Danny and the hangdog look from Matt takes a bit of wind out of her sails, and her own shoulders lose some of that carefully held tension. The reassurances from Danny are met with a oblique look. She considers the billionaire for a heartbeat longer before she looks back to Matt.

Her hands haven't left her pockets, fingers working together slowly. Then she nods slightly. "Alright," she invites simply. "But you guys really should start sharing notes." It's a defensive sharpness, her nostrils flaring with her exhale. She gestures slightly. "Should we sit?" The Sensei demonstrates her meaning, and purpose, stepping out to the center of the dojo and dropping in a casual, fluid motion that sends her into a seat, legs folded under her, butt resting on her heels.

—-

Colleen hasn't yet been confronted with the biggest of Danny's 'guard dogs' yet either. It remains to be seen what kind of position Luke Cage will take, given that the big man feels responsible for the two of them meeting in the first place.

The ninja billionaire drops to a seat like he's done it, well, his entire life. The hangdog look is in full force, and he's started avoiding some eye contact. "It's true that we don't always…communicate the best." Which insinuates there's a 'we', perhaps beyond 'protective friends.' He seems content to let the lawyer lead the questioning, since Matt's so damned good at it.

—-

"I'll see if I can give you some new ones," Matt says of questions with a brief smile, affable and absent any obvious threat. She invites them to sit in the center of the dojo, and Matt nods once, faintly, and sticks out his arm in Rand's direction. "Danny, do you mind?"

He doesn't waste time, starting even as he's making his way over. "Danny told me a little bit about what happened, and your conversation afterward. Was that night — the night of the fight — the first time you'd tracked Danny Rand without him knowing it? Followed him?"

—-

You know what Colleen wishes for more than anything right now? Something to throw at Danny. It's a weird instinct. His avoidance of eye contact, his shamefaced look. He really deserves a balled up sock to the face. But she's out of soft projectiles, and all she has left is a chuffed breath and slight roll in her shoulders.

"Yes." She doesn't hesitate. There's a slight nervous jump in her pulse, but it settles quick. Nerves of anyone getting asked questions that are uncomfortable, prying, and probably will lead them all down the same path that Colleen went with Jessica. She glances from Danny to Matt, giving her interrogator the bulk of her attention.

—-

Danny has never had to be a helper when Matt is playing 'full blind,' so he's a little confused at first at the arm. Then he clues in, stands back up, goes for the lawyer and reaches out for Matt's arm. "We're sitting on the mats," he murmurs as he leads him over to the spot.

"I'm…usually pretty good at telling when people follow me." Usually. Except when he's excited by the prospect of fighting ninjas, and while being followed by a ninja, apparently.

—-

Matt's lips quirk briefly when Danny says he's ordinarily good about not being followed. "Except when antiques are at stake," he says dryly, but fondly.

Danny navigates him and when they come to a stop he lowers himself down, folding his legs into a simple lotus. Perhaps he meditates or does yoga; he seems fit underneath the lawyer's suit.

"Danny also mentioned that these thieves used a fighting style that seems familiar," Matt says quietly, talking with his hands. "You know a lot about martial arts. Obviously. Did anything about those people in the antique store seem familiar to you — fighting style or otherwise? And do you have any thoughts on who they might have been?"

—-

The sneakiest ninja.

But then Matt hits her with the question Jessica didn't ask. Her eyes flicker briefly to Danny, then back to Matt. Her lips set for a heartbeat, pressed together. "One of them was a former student of mine." Her hands settle flat against her thigh. "I recognized the fighting style because I taught her how to fight like that." She tightens her fingers just briefly. "You're going to ask next if I know why they were at the antiques shop. I don't know."

Preemptively answering an unasked question is not exactly the most wise strategy in interrogation, but.

—-

Some of Danny's sheepishness tightens up a bit after Colleen admits she knew one of the fighters. Now his face tightens into the type of frown that he tends to get both when he's unhappy, and when he's thinking really hard about something. "A former…?" he inhales through his nostrils. He has lots of questions, but at the moment he's deferring to Matt, who is so much better at getting to the heart of things than he is.

He now looks up, meeting Colleen's eyes for the first time since he walked in. After a moment he can't help but add, "It seems like a hell of a coincidence."

—-

Matt's full eyebrows shoot up above the round rims of his shades when she admits she knew one of the culprits, but he otherwise takes the admission in stride. A true law enforcement interrogator would now leap in for the kill; harrangue and corner and browbeat. There's blood in the water.

Murdock? He keeps his serene lotus pose. "That's interesting," he say mildly. "I guess I have three questions then, to start."

Index finger. "Do you know who this former student of yours runs with? Any leads that might help us find whoever organized the — whatever it was."

Middle finger. "Why didn't you tell Danny you knew one of the attackers at the time? Why did it take me asking?"

Their style reminded me of K'un L'un, he hears in Danny's voice.

I taught her how to fight like that, she tells him.

Ring finger. "Who taught you how to fight?"

—-

Colleen catches the look from Danny. He seeks her eyes, and finds them easily without a flinch or shame. She holds his gaze steadily, and she only breaks it to glance toward Matt. The three questions are heard, and there's no change in the calm Sensei as she regards them. She's found her center, found her serenity. Both Jess and Matt have interrogated her in her space; sure this dojo is in the Merit Center. She shares this space with other teachers.

But, Colleen Wing is the Sensei. She embodies it — gracefully.

"I can't answer the first question. That's my business. She's my student. She attacked Danny that night, and fought me. She may have hesitated." Colleen's words are measured, but not clipped. They answer the question truthfully. "But, she made the choice to engage. I intend to find out why."

The second question, indicated by the raise of the second finger, draws her eyes back to Danny. She answers the question to Danny. "I didn't tell you because I didn't know how to. I still don't know how to. I want to be able to, Danny, but I don't have an answer." The truth is there, laid bare and unabashed. Perhaps she's omitting, keeping things close to her chest, but she's not going to lie. In this moment, lies do not have a place. Or purpose. Then she looks back to Matt. "And it took you asking for the same reason. I don't have an answer."

The third loosens her otherwise precise posture, and she sighs that exhale. Her hands settle on her thighs once more in a disciplined pose. "After my grandfather died, I was a street kid in Kyoto." Her accent of the Japanese city is precise. "I was taken in my by Sensei. My grandfather had already started training me, but I was rough and unrefined. Sensei taught me all I know, and kept me from becoming one of those kids that the streets just chew up and spit out. He saved me, so I try to save others. That's why I have my dojo… I take in kids who were as lost as I was, and give them a chance for something better."

She looks toward Danny now, and the honesty continues to come from her. "It was Sensei that asked me to follow you." She already told Jess this, already knew Danny would hear about it. In some ways, her heart is a bit less troubled that she gets to tell him all the same. "You came back from the dead, Danny. And my Sensei has always had a bit of a thing for the fairy tales. He thought that you may have been the Iron Fist, and asked that I watch you. Protect you." That's what Bakuto had intended, right? For Colleen to protect him? Bakuto had assigned Colleen to look after Danny because he believed him to be misled by the masters of K'un L'un. So, that meant protecting him. "I didn't believe him — that you were the Iron Fist. When I saw you leaving your place that night, I thought you had just gone stupid enough to be a billionaire vigilante."

—-

Danny looks to Matt as the lawyer takes a decidedly lawyerly tack (albeit a gentle one) to questioning Colleen. He doesn't say anything, but he too looks a bit like he's meditating, although more on the questions and answers than meditating in the calm, blank-your-mind way.

He looks from Matt to Colleen, meeting her gaze, brow furrowing up anew. He listens patiently to all she has to say without interrupting or making a sound. There's naked compassion on his face as she recounts her childhood. After all, he too was an orphan taken in by people he called sensei.

But then she goes into talk of the man who found her and his face tightens up again. When he speaks again, it's carefully. "If your…sensei believed me to be the Iron Fist, then he knows I don't need protecting. I'm an immortal weapon." It's always easy to tell when he's spouting the party line, so to speak, and when he's speaking from his heart. There's a particular cadence to his words that differentiates the two.

—-

Colleen divulges, finally, that she was sent to watch Danny Rand by her sensei. Displeasure flickers across Matt's features, but it's a fleeting thing. Whatever he's feeling, he moderates it.

Because this is, at the end of the day, not Matt's conversation. Or at least it shouldn't be. He was brought in to provide counsel, to come at a tricky problem from new angles, and maybe bring some new facts to light. Mission accomplished.

Yet now he's stuck in this room, in the middle of what's become an increasingly personal conversation. He should step back, at least metaphorically.

But being Matt, he has at least one more question. "Sensei isn't a name," he points out in his quiet wont. "Who sent you to watch Danny Rand, Ms. Wing?"

—-

Colleen's brow twitches upwards slightly, and she gives Danny an oblique look. "Danny, you stubbed your toe on a filing cabinet, and you hobbled around here for a good four hours like someone broke your foot." Her tone is dry, and is a slight break in the otherwise serious air. She might be exaggerating, but that filing cabinet is a pretty fierce opponent.

Then she shakes her head slightly, expression sobering a bit. "The power that makes you the Iron Fist is immortal, Danny. You, yourself, are not immortal." This is not the first time she has thought about this, not the first time she has let her mind drift back to her mother's stories. "You — Danny Rand — can die." Her voice tightens just for a moment, but she covers the disquiet with a dismissive air. "Unless I've missed something, and you're about to tell me that all the Iron Fists that came before you are still kicking it somewhere." Her fingertips drum just slightly against the flat of her thighs.

Her eyes tick to Matt. "I'm not going to tell you that." Colleen's voice is stern, but quiet. "And I'll give you three reasons."

She lifts her index finger. "First, I don't know what you will do with that information."

Then her middle finger. "Second, I am risking plenty by sharing what I have shared with you so far."

And now, her ring finger. "Third, I have no intention to tell Sensei what I have learned about Danny. Not until I know more about what happened that night at the antique shop. I told Jess, that by my honor, I would not share Danny's secret… with anyone."

—-

"No, I didn't. I…" Danny starts to say more, but gulps a mouthful of air instead. This isn't the time or place to argue about stubbed toes.

His brow starts to furrow again. "No, but I am a living weapon. I have the power of Shou Lao the Undying." There goes that weird cadence again, like a schoolboy reciting something by rote. But he does believe it, even though the words may belong to someone else. "A living weapon does the protecting."

He takes a moment and looks between Matt and Colleen. "You're…both doing a lot of counting things off. Is that…a thing?" Focus, Dan Rand, focus.

"If your sensei really is a friend, Colleen, then I should meet him." He glances sideways to Matt almost as soon as he says that, as he's anticipating an objection. "If he wants to help me. If he knows about the Iron Fist." And then, he considers for a moment. He shifts a bit uncomfortably. "But…how can you not tell your sensei?" If the Masters of K'un L'un asked him for information, if they had sent him on a mission, it would be unthinkable to not report that information. So by that estimation, it seems quite the conflict.

—-

The legend of Danny's battle with the file cabinet will have to be told some other day. Rand trails off, and Matt's attention is resting wholly on Colleen.

Not just on her words, but the voice that speaks them, the tell-tale rhythm of her heartbeat, the cadence of her breath, the cocktail of hormones that waft through the air. Humans take in so much of the detail and nuance of the world through their eyes; Matt's view is different but no less potent. Probably more, in fact.

She's telling the truth, at least as she sees it.

"It's a thing if you have three points to make," is all Matt says equably, placing the palms of his hands on his knees. But that's all he says, in part because Rand has underscored Colleens' untenable situation better than he ever could — but also because this was, again, never truly his conversation to have.

—-

How can she adequately explain the difference? She aims to protect him — she has no real investment in the Iron Fist. Her mouth tightens instead, and she looks down at her hands as her fingers and palms press into her thighs. She lets that one go without remark even if her eyes do flicker up to Danny briefly.

Danny's observation of the counting of their fingers causes the corners of her mouth to twitch just slightly — the smile is almost imperceptible. It might be laced with just a hint of mild, but constant exasperation.

It dissolves into a thoughtful, slightly withdrawn expression as she regards Danny. Matt's simple rejoinder is heard, but not acknowledged as she continues to look at Danny. Then, quietly, she starts to nod. "I will tell him you want to meet him." Her throat tightens a moment, and the motion is half-disguised by the dip of her chin. Telling Bakuto that Danny wishes to meet him means one clear thing: she told Danny about Sensei.

Her eyes flicker slightly to Matt at the conflicted question — and that dark gaze lingers on the blind lawyer for a heartbeat before she looks back to Danny. "Because I promised you I wouldn't tell anyone," she says quietly. It isn't the right answer, but she's in conflict even while she says it. Something — something in the depth of her gut — warns her against telling Sensei all he needs to know, and she's not sure why.

—-

Matt can't see the look that Danny corners to him, obviously. But his slight shift in body language tries to indicate that he's grateful for the other man's presence. He's a buffer, a third party to stop the conversation from indeed, getting too personal, or to stop him from revealing too much. When he trusts someone, Danny has a real problem with filters. It helps to have one of the Defenders there to try and stop him from putting his foot in his mouth, or revealing too much. When he trusts, he trust, and despite the third degree she's been getting, he does trust Colleen.

"That…." he begins, "…is a hell of a promise to make me. To not tell your sensei. I…" he hesitates a moment, "…appreciate how hard that must have been."

He worries his bottom lip and takes a moment before his next question: "Do you know how he knows about the Iron Fist?"

—-

"Tell me about it," Colleen breathes more or less under her breath, her shoulders loosening slightly. She glances slightly toward Matt, still uncertain about the quiet, observant blind man. Danny may trust her, and she may trust him, but something about Matt is distinctly unsettling. She just can't put her finger on what.

Her breath escapes her in a measured exhale as she looks back to Danny. Then she presses her lips together, and begins to shake her head. "I don't know." Her lips tighten. "I thought it was just a fairy tale… I would not have believed it if I hadn't seen you that night in the antique shop."

Danny opens his mouth to start to explain how he isn't at his best right now, that his chi is out of wack, but something about Matt's presence makes him stop before revealing that. That's a weakness, and one that if Colleen (unlikely) or someone she's working with (possible) is a possible enemy, that's a bad thing to tip.

"Listen, Colleen…I'm…sorry for the third degree. I should have been more straightforward. And uh, I should…have called Jess before asking Matt to come meet you. I'm uh, I'm a ninja, not…" a spy? An investigator? He can't even come up with a suitable addition to that. So he just exhales and says, "…yeah," while running a hand over his hair.

—-

Colleen's mouth presses together in an effort to keep her smile from edging into place. I'm a ninja, he says. She gives a slight snorting breath though, looking a tad bit exasperated — almost entirely exaggerated for the billionaire. "The unsneakiest ninja," she says dryly.

Then she shakes her head, hand lifting from her thigh in a dismissive gesture. "You did what you had to do." Her voice carries a weight there — a quiet acceptance.

—-

Again, Danny opens his mouth as if to protest, but closes it with a frown. He can be sneaky, damnit. But this has at least taught him he's been a bit complacent about leaving Gramercy.

He stands now, unfolding himself without needing his hands to lift off the ground. "So um, let me know if your sensei will meet me." And then to the lawyer, "Matt, I can uh…sign those papers that I actually need to sign. I have an office just down the hall." And then, he realizes he should do it, then reaches down to offer his hand to the playing-blind other ninja in and touches his arm gently so he knows it's there.

—-

Colleen's brow arches just slightly at the threat of protest, and something of amusement crosses her dark eyes. She also unfolds, rolling through her legs and heels and ending up upright in one smooth motion.

"I'll let you know, Danny."

She turns toward Matt, head dipping slightly. "It was nice to meet you, Mr. Murdock."

—-

Matt observes the interplay between Danny Rand and Colleen Wing quietly. The perfect lotus pose and the lawyer's garb make for an incongruous picture. He's mostly impassive, though a smile flickers across his features at one point. You might think that it's about this little encounter's happy ending, with Danny's apology and Colleen's quiet equanimity.

It's not. It's the fact that he heard, in whatever way he can, that Danny Rand was about to say something more and then held back. He's learning.

His head tips back and to the right when Danny nudges his arm, and then takes it himself so that he can use it as leverage to come to a rise. "Yeah, sure, let's take care of business. And nice to meet you too, Ms. Wing," he says with a little nod and an affable press of his lips. "Next time I hope it's under better circumstances."

—-

It's a short trip down the hall to an incredibly simple, small space that really doesn't look like it belongs to a billionaire. It's more like a social worker's space in, well, Hell's Kitchen. It's only enough room for a desk, a few other chairs and a filing cabinet. But considering he doesn't do a lot of work out of Merit itself, it works well enough.

Danny leads Matt in and closes the door. Once it is closed, he lets go of the other man's arm and moves around the desk to pull out a set of folders. The papers that need signing have to do with liability insurance to teach more rec-style classes in the building. "I'm…sorry about all that. It was way more awkward than I thought it would be."

—-

"It's okay," Matt says with a little shrug of his shoulders, dispensing with the blind man act almost as soon as the door is closed. "I'm used to awkward, and we got good intel."

He sets the walking stick and satchel on the wall next to the door and claims one of the chairs, slouching into it. "She's not lying," he confirms. "She believes everything she says, including her intention to protect you. But — "

He takes off his glasses, cleaning the lens with the end of his skinny tie. "—she's obviously not the only factor we have to be concerned about, now."

—-

"This sensei of hers," says Danny with a press of his lips. He rubs his chin. He remains standing, just to the left of his desk. He huffs out a breath. "She wants to trust her sensei. I understand that. If she was trained anything like me, you feel an intense loyalty to the people who trained you. The people who raised you." Even if those people weren't always, or even often - kind. That's something all three of them have in common, really. Childhoods with moments of love, but also a lot of tragedy, hardship, and hard work. "But if she didn't have doubts, would she really be keeping this from him?"

He drops into his chair now. It's a body flop, like a dog that suddenly decides to drop onto its favourite bed in one buckle of knees. The chair squeaks a little in protest. "But I'm glad we can trust her at least." He really wanted to trust her.

—-

An intense loyalty. Some hard-to-place emotion registers on Matt's face, reflexive but quickly banished. He's already confessed to some ambivalence about his one-time mentor 'Stick' to Danny, and those feelings remain deeply complicated. Those bonds can indeed be close — what happens to them when the master suddenly severs it, finding their student somehow unworthy?

"Being honest in the moment isn't the same as being trustworthy," he tells Danny, always urging caution to others while eschewing it himself. "She kept her cards close to her chest, or you wouldn't just be finding out about this sensei now. And it seems like she's getting pulled in a lot of different directions."

A beat, a drum of his fingers on his thigh. "Any clue on who this sensei could be?"

—-

Danny shakes his head, lips pursed into a frown. "No, no idea. But I was never told much about the enemies of K'un L'un. Just that they're out there. I wasn't told about the allies, but that doesn't mean those don't exist. It's possible he does want to help me but wanted to be sure of who I was first."

He spins the chair back and forth. "The whole thing gives me a bad feeling. Something doesn't feel right. I mean, she grew up hearing fairytales about the Iron Fist. That's pretty unusual."

—-

"You'd think the masters of K'un L'un would want their 'immortal defender' to know who the enemies of K'un L'un are," Matt says, more a thoughtful aside than any particular judgment.

For all that Danny may be in the dark, his immediate assessment seems right to Matt. "So, how do you want to play this? Let her go back to her master and see what happens? Have her followed?" You'd think that all this would deter Matt from subterfuge, but no indeed. "She'll be expecting that, so it would be risky."

—-

"I trust her, Matt. I just…" Danny hovers a hand over his stomach. "…in my gut, I don't think she wants to hurt me. That doesn't mean that she isn't being manipulated, that she might find herself with divided loyalties. But she's not a bad person." Eve though Matt can't return it, he makes eye contact. He sounds so unsure quite often, but there are moments when he's got absolute conviction. This is one of those times.

As for the question? "No, no following. This whole thing started because of following instead of just asking questions. But I think…" he huffs a breath. "…I have to go back to my research about my father and K'un L'un. Because I don't know about the city's enemies, my enemies. Or its allies. The Masters would have told me, eventually. But, I uh…I kind of left before they got to that?"

—-

Matt accepts Danny's answer, even if he doesn't love it. Honestly, he's already full of ideas about how he can conduct quiet surveillance of Colleen Wing using his super-senses. But this isn't his relationship, or his dojo, or his mystical city.

At the end of the day, he's just the man's lawyer.

So what he says instead is: "Sounds like a plan, Danny. And I think you're instinct to start poking around in the past is the right one. What you don't know can hurt you."

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