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Fanfic / Starting Over From The Middle

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A sequel fic to season 2 of Daredevil (2015).

This work is part 5 of a series called When They're Not Saving The World.

Matt Murdock and Frank Castle’s paths collide when they both try to take down a new player pushing drugs in Hell’s Kitchen and end up getting dosed by the very product they were trying to eradicate. Cuts, bruises, cracked ribs? Not a problem. A drug trip making them relive the most intense moments of their lives? Too much. Meanwhile, Wilson Fisk is setting out to wreck the life Matt is piecing back together.


Read it here.

Tropes present in this work include

  • Adaptation Expansion: Mysterio's drugs cause Matt and Frank to relive a lot of the more intense moments of their lives, and as a result, many of the gaps in their backstories are filled in. Matt's flashbacks explain things like what led up to the car accident that blinded him. Frank's flashbacks provide new snippets about his home life and his military service, and what was going through his head when he executed Colonel Schoonover.
  • Badass Preacher: Father Jordan is a Jesuit priest with the build of a weightlifter and a practitioner of jujitsu.
  • Big Brother Is Watching You: Fisk makes sure Matt is aware that he's being watched, sending various photographs to Matt's doorstep, bugging his apartment, and even having Karen and Foggy spied on as well.
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  • Bittersweet Ending: Fisk's attempt to go after Matt fail, with Frank killing Will Simpson. But Fisk is clearly not done yet with his plans to ruin Matt's life, Father Lantom is dead, and Maggie and Karen are injured.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Matt evidently forgot about the promise he made to Melvin that he would protect Melvin's girlfriend from Fisk, so is confused when Melvin attacks him while angrily raving at Matt about failing to do so.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Foggy offers to use some of his old repairman skills to remove bugs Fisk has placed in Matt's apartment.
  • Celebrity Paradox:
    • Foggy does an impression of Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver, never mind that Robert De Niro appeared as a flamboyantly gay pirate ship captain in Stardust, which was Charlie Cox's breakout film.
    • Breaking Bad exists since Turk Barrett describes Mysterio as "the latest Walter White wannabe with a stupidass costume” when grilled by Frank. Krysten Ritter, who portrays Jessica Jones (2015), had a recurring role in season 2 of Breaking Bad as Jesse Pinkman's girlfriend Jane Margolis. Meanwhile, Jessica Hecht, who played Walt's ex-flame Gretchen Schwartz, appears in Jessica Jones as Audrey Eastman.
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    • Foggy makes a name reference to Trinity from The Matrix in one chapter. A few chapters later, when a photo of Trinity is among the items Fisk mails to Matt's apartment to announce to them he has them under surveillance, Foggy comments that he's only now just realized how much Jeri Hogarth resembles Trinity.
    • Netflix exists in this universe, since Melvin mentions being a fan of Peaky Blinders, which is streamed exclusively on Netflix in the USA. One wonders what takes the place of Daredevil and the other MCU Netflix shows.
  • Continuity Nod: As is usual for a post-season 2 work.
    • Matt relives the memory of his first fight with Nobu.
    • Frank reads a book on the Howling Commandos’ tactics in Eastern Europe
    • Claire does press Matt to take Luke Cage's case but Matt quickly passes it over to Hogarth Chao & Benowitz figuring they're better equipped to handle it.
    • Jessica Jones (2015) makes a return appearance and mentions how Rand Enterprises owned the truck that caused Matt's accident
    • Karen comes clean about James Wesley's death to Frank
    • Fisk learns about Karen being present with Ben Urich during Ben's visit to Marlene at the nursing home. He also has regret over telling Wesley to spare Karen when the Union Allied scandal broke, figuring that she’d already done the damage she’d do. Now that she's a reporter and in Ben's old job, Fisk realizes she's a genuine threat to him.
    • The events of Doctor Strange (2016) have just happened. It also turns out that Claire and Dr. Strange have a bit of a history since Claire started at Metro-General at the same time he was starting residency there.
    • We learn more and more about IGH, the mysterious organization behind Jessica's treatment and Will Simpson's combat pills. It turns out they have ties to Rand and to Matt's accident.
    • Malcolm Ducasse is now working at a mission shelter and has struck up an acquaintanceship with Matt.
    • Fisk makes good on his threats to Melvin and has an attacker put Melvin's girlfriend in the hospital when he finds out about Melvin working with Matt.
    • Once he's aware that Fisk is targeting him, Matt tries to rattle some cages and press people for names, but is frustrated by the fact that just like when he first was pursuing Fisk, criminals are afraid to say his name.
    • When Simpson is infiltrating Malcolm's group to attack Matt and his allies, he raves about his experiences with Jessica. Somehow, Malcolm doesn't remember how Simpson roughed him up once in the lobby of Jessica's building.
    • Matt made a promise to Melvin that he would protect Betsy. When Fisk has Simpson beat up Betsy and put her in the hospital, Melvin is upset and attacks Matt for failing to protect her.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: One of the memories Matt relives is a memory of his time with Elektra in law school, and how he almost failed his torts exam due to her pulling away from studying for a weekend tryst.
  • "Friends" Rent Control: Averted. Matt is still able to live from his spacious apartment because he's inherited Elektra's money.
  • Internal Reveal:
    • Fisk learns that Karen was present with Ben Urich when he visited Fisk's mother at the nursing home.
    • Karen discloses to Frank that she killed James Wesley
    • Matt reveals to Foggy and Karen his visit to Fisk in prison after Frank escaped
    • Matt learns the truth about his mother.
  • It Gets Easier: When Karen is opening up to Frank about Wesley's death, Frank recalls how his first kill was too easy and didn't affect him a bit, compared to other soldiers his age.
  • It's Quiet… Too Quiet: Matt falls victim to this when he goes by Melvin's workshop and doesn't hear any sign of Melvin or his machines at work. Seconds before a very pissed Melvin attacks him for failing to protect Betsy.
  • Janitor Impersonation Infiltration: Fisk has Matt's apartment bugged by paying electricians to install microphones in the electrical outlets.
  • Life Imitates Art: This story, written in 2017, kills off Father Lantom a full year before he ultimately was killed off in season 3.
  • Mercy Kill: Frank agrees to grant Quentin Beck a quick death when he catches up to Beck and finds the man in poor shape and expressing regret for the deaths his work has caused.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • This work takes the time to incorporate characters from the more recent runs of the Daredevil comics.
    • Mysterio AKA Quentin Beck is adapted from the Guardian Devil storyline.
    • Simpson's attack on the Clinton Mission Shelter is basically Bullseye's attack from Guardian Devil. However, instead of nuns and Karen being killed while Sister Maggie is wounded, the attack goes differently: Karen and Sister Maggie are wounded, Father Lantom is killed, and Simpson himself is killed by Frank.
    • Father Jordan, introduced in issues #15-20 of the Charles Soule run, is brought in partway through the story and ends up succeeding Father Lantom as the priest of Matt's church upon Lantom's death at Simpson's hands.
    • Melvin is wearing the Gladiator armor that we saw him work on a bit in "Penny and Dime".
  • No OSHA Compliance: Quentin Beck's career as a chemist was a victim of this. He got fired from a biotech job for violating safety protocols too many times. After bouncing around from job to job, he ended up in the special effects industry, where his disregard for safety regulations caught up with him, and he disappeared after an accident where several people were injured and one killed. Then he resurfaced as a drug dealer named Mysterio.
  • Not Me This Time: When the first of Fisk's blackmail envelopes shows up, the fact that it's addressed to "Matthew Murdock" briefly leads Matt and Karen to think it's from Father Lantom, but Karen quickly dismisses the possibility because she recognizes Father Lantom's handwriting from when they filed paperwork for Grotto's funeral, "unless he’s trying for creepy kidnapper or something."
  • Oh, Crap!: Karen turns pale when Fisk sends her a surveillance still of her and Ben at the nursing home, making clear he knows she spoke to his mother.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • When Foggy visits Matt's apartment and finds out that Matt and Karen have been hiding Frank there, he points out that although the papers considered Frank dead, with no death certificate, he is considered a fugitive under New York law, and Matt and Karen could easily be in legal trouble for harboring if the police find out Frank was there.
    • Fisk's use of threats against Melvin's girlfriend is not an idle one. He has an enforcer put her in the hospital when he finds out about Melvin tailoring Daredevil's outfits.
    • Fisk is getting out by playing the legal system. He's gotten himself a shot at early parole through keeping out of trouble and his crooked lawyers making sure that no RICO case was pursued against him.
  • Retcon:
    • IGH as a whole has been retconned as a result of Jessica Jones season 2, while Spider Man: Far from Home rendered the Mysterio stuff non-canon.
    • Malcolm is doing social work here, whereas Jessica Jones season 2 later has him being Jessica's fulltime assistant.
  • Shown Their Work: The writer has taken a lot of time to portray real-world elements accurately, like the religious bits with Father Lantom.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Turk calls Mysterio a "Walter White wannabe with a stupidass costume" when under interrogation by Frank. The comparison is very appropriate, since Walter White turned to drug manufacturing to raise money after being diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, just like Quentin Beck is dying from lung cancer.
    • Learning about Matt's collaborating with Frank causes Foggy to describe Frank as someone who "makes Travis Bickle look like a paragon of mental health." Foggy even does a "You talkin' to me" imitation.
    • Josie and Matt make a Cheers reference when Josie discusses how Karen wants to do a piece on her for her Everyday Heroes column in the Bulletin.
    • When Matt is getting a new suit from Melvin Potter, Melvin says he saw a Netflix show where English gangsters sewed blades into the brims of their caps and contemplates doing something similar for Matt's armor.
    • When Matt is recounting what he learned about the attacker who put Melvin's girlfriend in the hospital, he talks about how the attacker was saying something about "Trinity". Foggy makes some guesses, like the character from The Matrix. Later on, he comments that he never noticed before how Jeri Hogarth bears quite a resemblance to Trinity.
  • Spotting the Thread: In Chapter 18, Matt and Karen come back to Matt's apartment from brunch to find another envelope of photographs from Fisk. Karen goes pale as one of the photographs is a surveillance still of her and Ben Urich from their visit to Fisk's mother. One of the screen grabs is a still of Trinity from The Matrix, and this instantly leads Matt to realize that Fisk has bugged the apartment and is gathering blackmail material. He's also quick to deduce that Fisk is using microphones and not cameras because there are no pictures from inside Matt's apartment and the apartment has been occupied every day since Matt and Frank's visit to Beck's lab.
  • Weirdness Magnet: While watching over Matt, Karen is working on an article for her series of pieces on everyday heroes in New York City. One piece ends up being about a doctor who was part of the rescue efforts when the World Trade Center towers fell on 9/11, who then worked triage during The Incident, and had the misfortune of being present for the Hand's attack on Metro-General Hospital.

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