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Fanfic / The Vigilante, the Reporter, and the Kingpin

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An Alternate Universe fic to season 3 of Daredevil (2015).

Matt Murdock is back from the dead, and has just learned that his archnemesis Wilson Fisk is out of prison. Knowing he can't take Fisk on all by himself, he decides to team up with the one person he knows who is as dogged and determined as he is to put the man back in prison: Karen Page. As Matt and Karen rebuild the romance they once had, they must also fight a lengthy battle with a man who is determined to destroy their lives, their livelihoods, and their friendships.


Read it here.

Tropes contained in this work

  • Action Girl: Karen decides to become one after Fisk compromises Matt's identity.
  • Actor Allusion: Marci Stahl's dad is said to be a judge, much like Amy Rutberg's father.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance: Felix Manning is introduced and given a larger part much earlier than in the actual timeline. Here, he's the one that relays word to Fisk when Matt shows up at the prison to seek information on the Albanians.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: The story fills a few plot points not explained in the actual season, such as giving Karen a line of investigation to connect the attack on Kazemi to Fisk, as well as provide an explanation for how Matt learned that Fisk had been shanked, and how Fisk learned Matt was at the prison.
  • Adaptational Villainy: In canon, season 3 did show Felix Manning engage in threatening people as well as Dex's handler. Here, he's also shown personally committing murders for Fisk.
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  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: Fisk turned Hattley by having Healy kill her son. Wesley then visited her house and threaten her daughter.
  • Arc Welding: It's mentioned that Julius Carbone, father of Rosalie Carbone, got his start as a member of Rigoletto's organization who then branched off to start his own operation in Harlem and whose moves against the Stokes caused a lot of the conflict in Luke Cage season 2, and was the one who recruited Fisk into organized crime.
  • Ascended Extra: Compared to the original fic, many members of the protagonist and antagonist supporting cast get larger roles.
    • Marci Stahl has more scenes and also has a mini teamup with Matt and Karen when Matt and Foggy fall under investigation.
    • Brett Mahoney contributes more to the season 3 story, first appearing when Matt and Karen show up at the Presidential Hotel's courtyard (taking the place of a uniformed cop). Matt and Karen later visit him during Foggy's speech at the police union function to ask him for information on Jasper Evans. He also is the detective who handles the interview of Melvin Potter after he's picked up by the NYPD.
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    • Fisk's fixer Felix Manning has an expanded role, filling many of Wesley's old duties.
    • In a retroactive example, it's established that John Healy, the hitman that Matt and Foggy were hired through Wesley to defend in season 1, and who gave up Fisk's name to Matt before killing himself, was responsible for killing Hattley's son as well as Julius Carbone.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Marci's reaction when Karen calls her to warn her that Foggy is under investigation.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Marci and Foggy mention the management shift at Jeri Hogarth's firm when Matt encounters them at Josie's.
    • As Matt and Karen go into the parking garage and are about to interrogate Ben Donovan, Matt observes that his wearing his mask while also wearing normal civilian clothes is kinda like when he stole Jessica's scarf to improvise a mask at Midland Circle. He even pulls this sort of improvised mask off when they go to visit Turk Barrett.
    • The "retirement" of Don Rigoletto, previously mentioned a few times by Ben Urich's mafia informant in season 1, is brought up again. Turns out Fisk had him cut to pieces as he eliminated people with knowledge of his past.
    • From what Misty tells Matt and Karen, the Carbone hit was carried out by Healy with help from Stewart Schmidt and Joseph Pike, the Westmeyer Holt contractors who went after Karen at Elena Cardenas's building. Healy was also responsible for killing Tammy Hattley's son.
    • Jennifer Many, the Bulletin reporter from Iron Fist season 1 that interviewed Ward Meachum and covered Danny Rand's press conference, covers the initial Bulletin story on Fisk's release from prison. She is also used as part of Fisk's ploy to leak information about the internal investigation into Dex.
    • When Matt and Karen visit Turk for information on the Carbones, Karen remembers using his ankle monitor to summon the police to the warehouse where the Hand held them captive. Turk is none too pleased remembering nearly losing his foot.
    • Carl Burbank, a lieutenant who runs a security firm that's a front for Fisk and provides security to Red Lion and the hotel, is established to be the sniper who shot Detective Blake.
  • Crossover: While the fic sticks only to characters from the Netflix Marvel shows, it's mentioned that the story takes place in the same universe as Blue Bloods and Billions, as Karen compares Fisk to Bobby Axelrod at one point, and it's mentioned that Frank Reagan is the Police Commissioner.
  • Dramatic Irony: When being questioned by Nadeem about his and Foggy's alleged criminal activity, Matt can't help but chuckle at the irony of Nadeem accusing Foggy of also being involved in criminal activity, to the man with the actual double life.
  • Enemy Civil War: Matt and Karen choose to invoke conflict between Rosalie Carbone and Fisk with the intention of destabilizing Fisk's extortion racket.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Anibal Izqueda is one of the gang bosses that Felix Manning tries to negotiate into paying Fisk's street tax. He refuses to do so, having been partners of the Albanians for years and who is aware of Fisk's snitching. When Izqueda shows no signs of budging, Felix settles on killing the boss.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Marci is okay with knowing about Matt's unscrupulous activities as Daredevil, reasoning that she's seen other lawyers at Landman & Zack and Hogarth Chao & Benowitz who've engaged in much more illegal activity, and Matt's actually doing what he does for the purpose of helping people, not to line his own pockets.
  • Foil: Matt comments to Karen about how many traits she shares in common with Jessica Jones, and while he's correct, she scoffs at the idea.
  • Friend on the Force:
    • Brett serves as Matt, Karen and Foggy's police contact, as in the show.
    • Kirsten McDuffie is a former girlfriend of Matt's and close friend of Marci's who provides her inside information from the district attorney's office.
  • "Friends" Rent Control: Semi-averted. Rather than pay the rents on two apartments, Karen has decided to cut her losses and simply move into Matt's apartment.
  • Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex: Karen's immediate reaction when she finds Matt alive and well is to make out with him. They then have sex after conversing about how Matt survived.
  • Good Feels Good: Karen is sexually turned on by pistol-whipping the catcallers on her way to visit the FDIC woman.
  • Hello, Attorney!: Marci is self-aware of how her looks invoke this trope, and even comments that Kirsten McDuffie has the looks befitting a fashion model than an assistant district attorney.
  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: Matt seems about to say this when Fisk calls him at the prison, but Fisk hangs up the phone before the riot starts.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Much of the fic works around existing plot points, so a fair number of scenes still manage to happen mostly intact.
  • Internal Reveal:
    • Karen's admission to Matt about killing her brother and James Wesley happens much earlier than in the actual canon. In the actual canon, the reveal happened while they hid in the crypt after Dex's church attack; here, it's before Matt even goes to the prison.
    • When Matt and Karen join forces with Marci to help Foggy, Karen brings up Wesley's death to illustrate the seriousness of Fisk's threats.
    • Matt discloses his visit to the prison to Foggy, Karen, and Marci much earlier, and his information on Jasper Evans.
  • Kill 'Em All: Upon learning the truth of Kevin's death, Fisk's operatives kill everyone else who knows the truth about what happened that night save for Karen's father.
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: Marci loves to act bitchy towards people who are annoying her, as seen when Nadeem tries to question her in her office, and when she, Matt and Karen interrupt Felix Manning shaking down Foggy.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Fisk's operatives killed Julius Carbone by making it look like he fell in front of a subway train.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Kirsten McDuffie, an Assistant DA and Matt's love interest in the Mark Waid run, turns up, and is the ADA Matt has to negotiate Melvin Potter's release with. She's also a close friend of Marci's.
    • When Matt learns that Fisk is targeting Foggy, he briefly muses that he'd have expected Fisk to come after him (Matt) directly, dismantle his life, and blow up his happened in the original Born Again story.
    • The lieutenants that Fisk meets with in chapter 17 all have names straight from the comics. Carl Burbank (Bushwhacker), Willie Lincoln (Echo's father), and Garrett Ornstein.
  • Rage Breaking Point: When Karen tries to bring to Ellison what she and Matt have uncovered about the Kazemi attack being linked to Fisk, she's able to convince Ellison to hear her out long enough to outline her evidence. But when Ellison decides to give the byline on the Fisk story to another reporter, Karen's anger boils over and she unloads on Ellison.
  • Reality Ensues: Unlike in the actual show, Foggy's District Attorney campaign and Marci's insistence on him making himself highly visible ends up backfiring horribly, as it just makes Fisk decide to target him much earlier than in the actual timeline.
  • Satellite Love Interest: Becomes averted with Marci Stahl. Within season 3, she was merely a supporting character in Foggy's story. Here, she's a more active player who actively works with Matt and Karen to bring down Fisk.
  • Secret Keeper: Marci has become another one of Matt's secret keepers, Foggy having disclosed the truth to her in a moment of vulnerability.
  • Shout-Out: The exchange when Matt, Karen and Marci interrupt Felix Manning's efforts to shake down Foggy is very much lifted straight from The Untouchables.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: The title of the story, and the cover photo, highlight that the fic is primarily told through the perspectives of Matt, Karen, and Fisk. At a few points, the narrative does give some POV to other characters like Dex, Foggy, Marci, and Nadeem.
  • What If?: The fic is built around "What if Matt had started working with Karen as a team the moment he learned Fisk was out of prison?"
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In an aversion, this fic (unlike the original timeline) resolves the fates of Stewart Finney and the Valdez brothers, the three inmates that served as Fisk's prison bodyguards in season 2. He's arranged all of their releases from prison, and even gave Finney a job at Red Lion Bank. Finney in particular ended up being the crooked loan officer who encouraged Foggy's brother to commit fraud.

Example of: