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FIC: The Shallow-Drowned

Title: The Shallow-Drowned
Fandom: Watchmen
Characters/Pairings: Rorschach/Dan
Date Written: 2009
Summary: "The shallow drowned lose less than we."
Rating/Warnings: R. Slash, vague!porn. Really vague. Sorry. :(
Notes: Book/Movie Hybrid!verse, mostly in that Dan's got his heavier outfit. Set in 1971. Also: Written for a kinkmeme prompt, and I try to fill prompts as close to what is asked for as possible. It asked for sex, and while I think I could have pulled off the same basic effect with the story without it, I think I deserve a little fun now and then. You know, in between writing ZOMBIE AU OF DOOM. :O
ALSO: Originally posted Anon. Trying to get out of that habit, to stop being embarrassed by what I write, so here it is.
ALSO ALSO: This has been reworked a bit since its initial posting, which is to say, stuff has been added where stuff needed to be added, and tense issues have been fixed, and sentences have been rebalanced/reordered in some cases. No content changes, it should just flow better/make more sense now. The jerkiness of the narrative in some places was honestly embarrassing me more than the porny bits. D:



*

The last thug hits the ground with a satisfying sort of finality, leaving nothing but the sounds of ragged breath, the lazy lap of the water against the harbor embankment below, the buzzing background noise floor of the city.

One person's breath, harsh and rough with adrenaline. Not two.

Rorschach doesn't immediately put it together - just casts around as he always does, for other targets, for those attempting to flee justice. For Daniel, too, though he rarely admits that part to himself, eyes falling on everything with the mask's same dispassionate gaze. There are no more criminals, attacking or running. There is also no Daniel.

"Nite Owl?" he questions into the darkness, and he isn't yet gripped by enough worry for it to color his tone, but there's something wary in the set of shoulders and face under the brim of his hat as he waits for an answer.

None comes.

Rorschach replays in his mind the last portion of the conflict. Daniel was fighting well tonight; was down to only one man still standing. They'd ended up on top of the row of crates along the edge of the wharf, and there'd been a splash - had there been a shout, too? In whose voice? - and looking now, all Rorschach can see is the silhouette the boxes make against the harbor skyline, jagged and crooked teeth chewing at the sky.

More jagged than they'd been before. There are crates missing. They must have fallen into the-

(Daniel.)

There’s a clambering rush, and the scene visible down the embankment isn't the worst it could have been, but it’s still worse than Rorschach had been hoping for. One of the crates is split open on the steep bank, the white-filled plastic packets they'd come here trying to prevent hitting the streets spilling from its fissured belly like entrails, shining and wet in the rising and falling water. The last man Daniel had been fighting is floating face-down in the water, near enough to the bank and its piled trash and industrial leavings to have cracked his skull open on something on the way down, a faint red tinge spreading into the dark water at the side of his head. Not moving.

(Criminal, evidence. What else?)

Rorschach strains his eyes through the mask, wishing right now for Daniel's ridiculous night-vision goggles- Daniel, of whom there is still no sign that he can see, the vaguely circular ripples being diffused and broken up by the moving water. It's shifting so smoothly it may as well be still, a polished mirror of streetlights - until the reflections are disrupted suddenly by bubbles breaking the surface of the water, a ways further out than the floating body. Their burbling shouldn't be audible over the noise of the streets behind him, but they sound louder in this moment than anything he's ever heard. A drowning man doesn't breathe out until he passes out, and that's when the timer starts.

Memorizing the location, Rorschach doesn't hesitate any further, suspicions as confirmed as they need to be. He pulls off the trench, the jacket, the hat and scarf, anything that'll weigh him down - pauses over the mask, eying the dark and murky water below. Hard enough to see, to find him down there, without an extra hindrance. It’s logical. He still feels a sickness settle in his gut as he peels it off, but he ignores it, toeing shoes off into the pile and taking the best running leap he can manage on the narrow wharf. Aiming for the site of that last, escaped breath.

It only occurs to him midair, poised to crash down in the next instant:

(You can't swim.)

And somehow, he can't find it in himself to care.

*

He surfaces with a sputter, coughing between water and air, and the brine and chemical pollution in the water stings and all he wants to do is stop for a minute and let it clear from his eyes but Daniel doesn't have a minute. So he sucks in a breath, and stops trying to keep himself afloat. Sinks.

*

The water is dark and unnavigable, all liquid shadow and smoke, and he's down for a while and it feels like the right place, like he should be finding something, like this should be easier - but he has no idea how deep this part of the harbor is, and there's just... nothing. He's about to try to get back to the surface for air when gloved fingers snag in something that feels like hair, waving loose in the water. He grabs on and pulls himself closer, finding the shape of a head, of shoulders and arms hanging lax - of metal and glass skewed off-kilter over the eyes, and a hastily pushed-back cowl drifting just behind.

(It's the armor), he realizes disconnectedly, fingers scrabbling for seams and clasps that the soaked leather can't get any purchase on. (It's too heavy.) He knows even before he tries - and he does try, arms hooked underneath Daniel's and fighting upward against the weight of water - that he's not going to be able to just haul him to the surface without some other assistance. He's just too poor a swimmer, unpracticed and unschooled, barely surviving down here himself on whatever primitive flailing instincts everyone is born with. No amount of will or determination is going to suddenly change that.

And his own air supply has already long since run out, lungs screaming, but his pain threshold is high and he ignores it - pulls himself closer, close enough to really see through the grey-black dinge, and lifts Daniel's lolling head to face his own. Pushes the goggles off of his face - eyes are closed, lips open and breathless and starting to go faintly blue. He just looks, for what feels like forever but is in fact less than a second - burning into memory.

Then all at once, blackness starting to crowd into his vision, he breaks for the surface. Ignores the protests of lungs and body and struggles back to the edge of the embankment, looking up at the wharf, knowing without knowing exactly what he's searching for-

(There.)

He reaches up and hauls down the coil of rope, already looped around one of the posts - probably meant for bringing in and tying off smaller vessels, but it looks long enough. The entire pile is tossed into the water, clear of the debris that could snag it, and he winds the free end over the palm of his hand once, twice… three times, before jumping back in.

This time, the finding isn't difficult - Daniel hasn't moved and his sense of location is impeccable, no matter the circumstances. He slips both arms under Daniel's, holds the rope between his hands, reels in the slack. Then starts pulling, hand over hand, six inches at a time, towards the open air above.

It's slow going, and it feels slower. As soon as they're moving, Daniel's head falls forward onto Rorschach's shoulder, limp and unresponsive, subject to the resistance of the water they move through and nothing more. When they've gone what must have been five feet, the pain in his lungs starts to dull in the wake of the black wisps curling in front of his eyes, numbness spreading, sparks starting to explode out of the darkness. After seven feet, his hand slips its grip and he almost drops Daniel - he recovers, but he's starting to lose his hold on where he is, what exactly he's doing and why.

After nine feet, he considers, in some faraway part of his mind, letting go and falling - letting the two of them settle amongst the garbage and seaweed and scuttling cold-water crabs and at least Daniel wouldn't be alone-

The water is nine and a half feet deep. He breaks the surface with a gasp, oxygen pulled in and cycled and rushed to his brain and again and again; Daniel is silent and still, dead weight on his shoulder and in his arms, and he keeps pulling on the rope, hauling them both to the embankment before his vision has even managed to clear. As soon as Daniel is flat on his back, sodden but solid ground underneath, Rorschach fights one clinging glove off and presses his fingers to his throat, searching out a pulse, even a faint one, even something erratic and frightening- anything at all.

There's nothing. And he's suddenly not thinking anymore, a rough sound ringing in his ears like the roaring of wind around Archie when he climbs partway through the hatch in midflight, and it takes him a moment to realize that he's the one making it. Fingers move without conscious thought, pulling at long zippers with more dexterity than he'd managed at the bottom of the harbor, splitting the armor open straight down the middle. The ungloved hand settles over the thin, soaked-through fabric of the undershirt beneath it, checking again, checking at the source, please and Daniel and don’t do this rambling through his head and spilling incoherently over split and bitten lips.

But no - still nothing.

*

[He pockets the pamphlet dismissively; it should be enough that they risk their lives every night stopping assaults and saving people from the worst scum of the streets; there's no reason they need to play paramedics too. That's what ambulances are for - this is just more of Metropolis's nonsense, and he'll nod for now and dispose of the literature later. It's not as if he could see himself ever voluntarily touching a stranger - or anyone really - in that way, even to help them. He's honest about his hangups, at least – that’s better than most of the people here.

That night though, they take Archie down on his very first underwater test run in the east river, and it's like a ghost world - especially when they come across a picked-over and eyeless corpse wedged under a drainage grate, never missed, never found, left to haunt the riverbed with a stare like the empty black nothingness at the core of everyone's most basic fears. Daniel remarks, part lightly and part legitimately nervous, that Archie's new seal system might not hold up long enough to lock in the location to report to the police later; it holds and they do, but it's all Rorschach can do to not continually re-imagine the hull breaching, water rushing in, sweeping them down and apart and away. He realizes, partway through the scenario, that there's at least one person he'd be willing to touch like that, should breath and life be on the line.

At home later, the pamphlet is read and re-read and the diagrams committed to memory until the edges are thumbed off and the seams white and ready to disintegrate from overuse, folded and unfolded and turned inside out until the sense it makes is nothing short of instinctual.]


*

The noise is still there, involuntarily keening out of a throat almost too constricted for breath and driven to an arrhythmic staccato by exertion, but he ignores it, all of his weight behind his arms as he works to coax the body under him back to life. The thought that it might be too late - that he might have been down there, breathing water and darkness, for too long - is not one he's allowing to cross his mind. Under the armor, Daniel seems too human, almost frail, ribcage flexing effortlessly under the assault, and maybe he's pushing too hard - he hopes he isn't, but that's better than not hard enough and really, this can't have gone on for as long as it feels like, can't have been too long, not yet. He ducks to press his mouth to Daniel's, breathing out forcefully, once, twice… no response. He isn't counting when he shifts back to work his chest, can't manage anything higher than two or three in his head right now, so he just pumps until it feels like it's enough, whispering things that make no sense in a paper-thin voice that isn't quite there.

A breath, deep, then down to give it over to Daniel. Another.

(Take it...)

And just like that, the mouth under his is pushing back up against him in a pure spinal reflex, crushing thin lips with damp and blue ones - and Rorschach isn't honestly sure if the sudden rush of warmth in his gut is due to the realization (he's alive, Daniel’s alive, breathing and alive) or due to the feel of that mouth against his, pushing and demanding and unlike anything he's ever-

Then Daniel is spasming under him, eyes wide in terror, rolling onto his side to cough up lungfuls of dirty harbor water- choking out desperate gasps while Rorschach just sits, knees in muck and resting back on his heels, one hand on Daniel's shoulder as he works on clearing the pipes and coming back to himself.

*

Consciousness comes back in a rush, and he's sure of that because consciousness hurts, and it hurts all at once, pain starting deep inside and bubbling up and out, leaving burning sense-memory in its wake. What he isn't sure of is why he hurts, and why he'd been unconscious at all. Why he's wet. Who the drenched and miserable-looking person hanging over him is, and he's about to ask – or try to ask – when the distant streetlight glow catches the edge of a sharp and stubbled jawline and he recognizes it, understands what he's seeing. Understands its significance, in the kind of flash of epiphany only the nearly-lost can lay claim to, in those first adrenaline-flooded moments of life crashing back in.

So, a lot of questions, and only one answered, and even that begs more questions. The face over him is etched with fear and relief all at once, and it tugs at something, some vague half-memory formed in the hazy place in between the Nothing and the Pain. Pressure, and warmth, and a thread pulling him out of the darkness and...

"Rorschach," he manages, just barely – voice scratching roughly, tearing itself from abused lungs. The effort causes his chest to tighten, and that hurts too, on the outside as well as in – he feels bruises already spreading to the surface.

Just a nod from the figure above, mouth opening as if to say something; hanging there for a moment, then closing over whatever word failed to form, thin lips pressing into a tight line- and why is he watching Rorschach's mouth of all things, he sees that all the time, and he could be looking at the rest-

(Oh.)

The memory settles into place, a heavy weight seating itself into the confused and swirling sediment at the back of his brain. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it’s so there, running along his nerves as if it were happening now – sense-memory like a tactile snapshot, captured frozen in time. "Uhm. W-" He coughs, choking on the attempt at a vowel; Rorschach's hand is suddenly at the base of his neck, supporting the weight of his head as he curls in on himself, fighting for breath. The fit dies by degrees, and before he can lose his nerve, he rushes the words out: "Were you... were you kissing me?"

An incomprehensible grunt, then Rorschach pushes back to his feet. "No," he answers, and it'd be convincing – really convincing – to anyone else. To Dan, it rings like truth mixed with just a little bit of lie. Rorschach walks away toward the wharf, leaving Dan propped up on his elbows. Reaches up to retrieve his things from up there where he'd dropped them; has to go up on his toes to do so. He pulls the mask on first, and he probably thinks it hides the sudden flush, but the heat-sensitive blots betray him, pooling dark and heavy across his cheeks. "You almost drowned. Your heart stopped." A pause, then: "Had to get you back."

And just like that, everything makes a lot more sense – mundane, common sense, but sense just the same. Dan leans back on his arms for a moment, quietly ticking boxes in his mind, letting each implication sink in. It explains a lot: The pain, inside and out, like a truck impact to the chest. The open armor. The half-memory, teasing him from the haze. The water. The fact that Rorschach’s as drenched as he is, and can the other man even swim? He isn’t sure, and the thought terrifies him for a moment, slicing through the rest of it. He's also cold, his clothes minimal under the armor to begin with and damp in the open air, and between the two he shivers violently.

…and dimly becomes aware that Rorschach has paused in reordering his clothes somewhere between putting the suitjacket on and buttoning it, and is watching him in utter stillness. Dan has a sudden flash of what he must look like – disheveled and pale and wet and still breathing hard, eyes unfocused without either glasses or goggles, armor covered in muck and split up the middle like some gruesome biology experiment. Half in the water, half not.

(Almost drowned.) It explains a lot, but it doesn't explain the ink spreading like black-feathered wings over Rorschach's face. And Dan is shaky and somehow buoyed by the knowledge of how close to death he'd been – feels invulnerable, invincible, here in the aftermath, and there's something in there about want that rings to the core, never brought up or discussed or thought about- and missed chances, gone forever...

Or maybe it's just brain damage, a result of prolonged oxygen deprivation. That's a possibility.

Either way, he stares straight back at where Rorschach has frozen, hands pinched around the buttonline of his jacket, and says something he will later decide is either very stupid or absolutely brilliant: "Well... if that's all I need to do to get a kiss out of you, I should almost drown more often."

There's a brief, carefully metered moment - then a growl, and a flash of movement so fast Dan can barely track it. He's suddenly flat on his back again, Rorschach's palms spread against his shoulders, holding the rest of his weight down by... god, he's being straddled flat against the mud, and he’s too weak still to struggle – fire blossoming through his chest at the added weight. "No," Rorschach grinds out, and he ducks his head to where one of his hands is pinning Dan's shoulder, hooking the mask with his thumb and pulling it up over his nose. "Don't even- just. Don't."

(Don't drown more often? Or don't joke about it?)

(The second makes more sense, but…)

(…but what?)


Dan doesn’t verbalize any of it; just stares, struck dumb by the absurdity of the situation all at once - they're filthy and drenched and surrounded by garbage and this is a completely public place for all that it's mostly abandoned at the moment - but he isn't sure if he's being assaulted or assaulted and in the end, he's too shocked by the warm press of the body above him to react to anything, to even consider laughing. To consider shattering it. He just. Stares.

*

A moment passes, and Rorschach suddenly realizes his position as if waking from a fugue - has no idea why he's pulled up his mask and no idea why Daniel is staring at him, eyes full of tension and cautious promise, and…

…no, not true. He has an idea. It's a sense-idea, not a word-idea, and it's swirling nausea and rushing electricity and familiarity all in one; a filthy hand reaching in, stirring at his insides. At this angle Dan's eyes are wide and unmoving and shadowed deeply, black inside of black, like the endless gaze of the shallow-drowned corpse in the east river, and it'd been so close. He almost hadn't come back. Almost slipped away.

There's a choked-off hitch in Rorschach's breath, and he leans in closer, against Daniel's face, pulling air in harshly through his nose. Salt. Plant life. The organic tang seawater takes on from so many things living and dying and being born in it, a constant cycle of decay that leaves its own unique mark. Underneath it all, something like fear, but without that sharpness. Anticipation, maybe. Endorphins. Possibly attributable to the body rushing back to life all at once. Possibly not. The skin under his face shivers lightly and he pulls back up, and his voice isn't really his own and he has no idea where the words are coming from, but they still drop into the space between them, condemning in their implication: "...Don't need to."

And then Daniel's gotten one hand up around the back of his neck, the damp leather grating roughly over skin, and he lets himself be pulled down against lips no longer blue, no longer cold, all life and warmth and the sheer physicality of it, the visceral grip Daniel's vitality is spinning just under his skin, near about overwhelms him. He pulls back, panic crowding in, struggling to get off of the other man, away, back to his feet, and what was he thinking getting in this position in the first place and-

-and Daniel's hands are solid around his upper arms, just above the elbows, and they're gridlocked – each holding the other in place, with neither having the leverage to break it in their favor.

"Hey," Daniel whispers, though likely because his throat is too raw for more volume rather than out of any perceived need for gentleness. "It's okay."

No. It isn't. It doesn't matter how glad he is that Daniel is alive – how close to death they'd both been, pulling so slowly along that rope, creeping towards life-giving oxygen and so unlikely to reach it. It doesn't matter that he'd jumped in without a second thought, could've died right then and there- hit something under the surface, or just caught a lungful of water and sunk like a stone. It doesn't matter how easily this could have ended in a dozen ways that would have left one or the other of them alone and broken; a dozen other ways yet that they could have both wound up on the muddy floor of the harbor, to be found or not found at the whim of the tides.

And what really doesn't matter is the swell of warm pleasure that was stirred out of the depths the moment the mouth under his started to respond – has refused to dissipate, is lingering even now, wrapped up in a cord that Daniel is tugging at insistently. Probably unknowingly. Breath, eyes- hands on his arms, each gloved fingertip damp through the fabric of his suitcoat. Tugging, and pulling, and reeling in.

Doesn't matter.

"It's okay," Daniel repeats, letting go with one hand – freeing it to loop over Rorschach's back, pull him down between the edges of the armor and against the thin cloth underneath, buried in the clinging smell of salt. He doesn’t have the leverage to resist, and there's no mistaking the heat there, or the stiff pressure, or the way skin is jumping and jittering under damp cloth.

"Nrrg." It’s throaty and rough; protesting, but just barely. "You don't want this." And Rorschach doesn't really believe it, can't believe it at this point – evidence to the contrary plainly obvious - but he says it anyway, because it's the only defense left. He can't say that he himself doesn't, not at this proximity; not without being called out as a liar.

Daniel does laugh now, a sharp and bubbling sound that looks like it hurts. Probably does. "I'm the one who just almost died. I think I have a clearer idea of what I really want than you do."

The mask is still painting a very specific picture, but under it Rorschach is narrowing his eyes, studying Daniel intently. Trying to fit the pieces together, all at once fascinated and horrified by the image they're forming. "You could still be confused. You were in the water for a long time. Oxygen depr-"

"I'm not."

Rorschach hesitates, is distracted by thoughts of brain damage and permanent personality alteration and all the other horror stories for just a second too long – and Daniel has reached up and closed the gap between them again, roughly, the hand on Rorschach's arm all confidence and familiar assurance and so very Daniel that all the theories evaporate and, resistance spent and mind weary with the night's battles, he stops fighting - sinks down into the kiss. Sinks down against the body beneath him, between the split leaves of the armor and it's bizarre, like slipping into some kind of human-sized chrysalis and then there's nothing more to think about it because Daniel is moving under him and there's a shock of heat and suddenly the moisture under his mask isn't all just seawater anymore, sweat beading out along his brow and sliding, stinging, into his eyes.

There's a low growl, and Rorschach slides his hands from where they're pinning Daniel's shoulders up to grasp at the back of his neck – and grasp hard, thumbs digging under the base of his skull. It’s a grip that could snap a spine – has done so, rarely, when fights have escalated beyond capture and gone straight on into self-defense and the split-second decisions that kill or save the both of them – but Daniel shows no sign of fear, of anything but scrabbling need and trust, and that drives a spark of something unidentifiable straight through him, unraveling any remaining control into scattered and tangled ribbons. He jerks against the heat and pressure under him, rutting against layers of damp fabric no longer chilled, and there's a chorus of voices in the back of his mind calling out names like degenerate and scum and filthy animal and each blow lands, somewhere inside, somewhere soft and unarmored and usually locked tightly away. Each one draws out a wince under the mask- each word a razor-sharp splinter of self-loathing, bright against the haze of heat.

But then Daniel's arm tightens around his back and pulls him in closer and his motions are losing coordination, just gut-warmth and instinct and some terrible beast in his chest, driving him to fall headfirst into the man below him with no more regard for his own safety than he'd had leaping into the harbor. The voices fade, because everything is on fire and it's pooling in his feet and his fingers and his face and somewhere deeper, curling around the base of his spine, unwinding. Daniel tenses against him, motion jerky and desperate, folding in on himself hard - groans into his mouth, the vibration driving all through him in waves of want and need and life- and that’s all it takes, all he needs. Rorschach breaks the kiss, turns his head away, trying to hide; hide himself, hide how shameful it is that he wants this and that he's shaking on that same edge. The balance tips, and the sound that escapes him comes out in pieces, each more shattered than the last.

The black wisps are back, dancing at the edges of vision; This time, he lets them do as they will.

*

Distantly, he comes back to himself; breath still heaving, hips still twitching against the damp slickness spreading beneath them, never mind that the friction is unbearable – body craving contact while the rest of him has no idea what to do, reeling in a numbness that feels too comfortable to be healthy. Below him, Daniel’s eyes are shining now; he’s shifted out of the pool of shadow, and the whites and browns stand out in stark relief, picked out by stray streetlight. One gloved hand settles over Rorschach’s hip, not unkind but firm, stilling him. He’s smiling.

Rorschach is just barely present - panting, mouth open under the lifted mask - hands still clamped behind Daniel’s head, leaned as far up and away as he can get without disengaging. He’s unsure whether he needs to run away or hold on tight, both impulses rising and receding in turn, battering against each other. The toes of his shoes are in the lapping edge of the water; the wet, frayed rope lies nearby, just on the edge of vision. He’s been broken to pieces, and he doesn’t need to take off the mask to show it, every twitch and shudder as clear as a brittle fracture line, spidering out from his core, distorting the picture into a thousand tiny reflections and refractions and ghosts.

Everything tastes like silence- like salt and unbearable noise, and he suddenly has an idea of what it must feel like to breathe water, that hit to the lungs that burns, tears, makes the thought of air impossible. Shreds will and control to pieces; hands the reigns to instinct. He wonders if Daniel remembers, through the haze of unconsciousness that had followed; assumes that he does, or if he doesn’t, that he still knows. Understands.

Daniel doesn’t offer any clues - just hooks his other arm around and folds Rorschach down against himself, and does nothing but lie there and live and breathe, and for now, that is more than good enough.

*


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Comments

( 56 comments — Leave a comment )
22by7
May. 1st, 2009 09:05 pm (UTC)
Reading this was like a much more intense, discomfiting version of watching those nature shows with time lapse photography, where everything becomes new and extraordinary. Which is just a ridiculous and roundabout way of saying, I love fics that make me see differently, and this one did. Wow.
etherati
May. 1st, 2009 09:24 pm (UTC)
Uhm. Thank you. That's a really profound compliment, and I'm seriously sort of stunned by it. Thank you.
miss_bushido
May. 1st, 2009 09:37 pm (UTC)
This was so good. I love your writing style so much. It was beautiful.

I'm definitely bookmarking this.
etherati
May. 1st, 2009 09:41 pm (UTC)
BAHAHA YOUR ICON <3

Thank you so much. :)
(no subject) - miss_bushido - May. 2nd, 2009 06:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - etherati - May. 2nd, 2009 06:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
steals_thyme
May. 1st, 2009 09:57 pm (UTC)
You already know I adore your writing like woah, to the point where I can barely articulate myself properly. There's something intangible and ethereal, but also so visceral about your work that is utterly compelling, and I just want to read them over and over.

*gushes embarrassingly*
etherati
May. 1st, 2009 10:21 pm (UTC)
Bwuh. You embarrass me. D:

Thank you, though, seriously - that idea of blending intangible with physical and real is something I adore when I see it in other writing - had no idea I'd managed to pull it off myself, too close to my own stuff. And it makes me all giddy that I've somehow managed it.

Also: You can talk. I've re-read your stuff more times than I'm willing to admit to. XD
inigosolo
May. 1st, 2009 10:05 pm (UTC)
This is incredibly well written, with a very specific lyrical and dreamlike style. I liked the slow motion desperation of the bits with Rorschach trying to get Dan out of the water, how long and ardous it was. I liked the description of the blue lips and the salty smell - loved the bit about sea water being full of decay, was thinking of David Attenbourgh (i know, i'm gegging in on the nature documentary similie of the above reveiwer, lol).
Lovely, lovely story. Well done, sir.
etherati
May. 1st, 2009 10:28 pm (UTC)
If you're gonna make nature documentary references, David Attenbourgh is the shit. I can't believe they replaced his voicetrack on the US version of Planet Earth. Stupid.

But anyway, thank you! Dreamlike is a good description of what I was going for, sort of like... the unreality of the situation knocking them sideways out of usual mindsets.
muse_of_graphia
May. 1st, 2009 11:52 pm (UTC)
beautiful
"the strangest twist upon your lips"

Wow. You write Rorschach well. The impulsiveness and desperation seemed perfect. The flashbacks flowed right from the present story, no jarring feelings of shifting time. And Daniel's disorientation seemed right (not that I know much about near-death experience). This is the first fic of yours that I've read. I loved it. Must find more.
etherati
May. 2nd, 2009 01:54 am (UTC)
Re: beautiful
Thank you :D He's a hard character to pin down. This whole scenario was hard to pin down, but I'm glad you liked the result and that it all rang true for you. :)

The rest of my fic is here on my journal, if you're looking, and also: You get a cookie for being the first person to get the title/summary reference. XD
Re: beautiful - muse_of_graphia - May. 3rd, 2009 01:21 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: beautiful - etherati - May. 3rd, 2009 02:17 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: beautiful - muse_of_graphia - May. 3rd, 2009 05:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: beautiful - etherati - May. 3rd, 2009 06:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: beautiful - muse_of_graphia - May. 3rd, 2009 11:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: beautiful - muse_of_graphia - May. 3rd, 2009 11:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: beautiful - etherati - May. 4th, 2009 12:38 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: beautiful - muse_of_graphia - May. 4th, 2009 01:10 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: beautiful - etherati - May. 4th, 2009 01:32 am (UTC) - Expand
mizzykitty
May. 2nd, 2009 03:05 am (UTC)
*breathes* wow. That was lovely. Beautifully written, poignant, and such tension. Really a stunning piece of work! Thank you so much for posting!
etherati
May. 2nd, 2009 04:27 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! :D
munanna
May. 2nd, 2009 06:07 am (UTC)
Very well written! The characters were spot on and I really liked the scene where Rorschach tried to save Daniel, that he took his mask off and everything and when he tried to get him back. Thank you for sharing. ♥
etherati
May. 2nd, 2009 06:58 am (UTC)
Thanks! He kind of surprised me with the mask heh. I wasn't entirely expecting him to do that. I'm glad you liked it. :)
oni_queen
May. 2nd, 2009 03:46 pm (UTC)
This is probably my favorite D/R Fic now. Its just so intense, and Rorschach is always a pleasure to read about.

KISS OF LIFE!
etherati
May. 2nd, 2009 04:41 pm (UTC)
Eeeee, thank you. Intensity is a large part of what I was going for - impulsiveness, and things sort of spiraling out of control before he realizes what's going on, since that's just about the only way to ever get him into this kind of situation without a long drawn-out fight. D:

And yeah. NO HE WASN'T KISSING HIM. NOT EVEN A LITTLE. NOT LYING AT ALL. SUUUURE.
lady_wormtongue
May. 2nd, 2009 03:53 pm (UTC)
Gah, fantastic. I really enjoyed every word of this, I love the picture you painted here. And the sex was very tasteful, no need to be embarrassed!
etherati
May. 2nd, 2009 04:52 pm (UTC)
<---recovering cathoholic, and therefore embarrassed/shamed by just about everything. *coughs*

Thank you though, I'm glad you enjoyed it, and I'm glad you felt it was tasteful. I find that with reading or writing sex scenes, I'm much more interested in what's going on up here *points to head* than I am in 'tab A into slot B' type things, so that's what I tend to emphasize.

ALSO: You have a hgttg icon that is not based on the movie. I LOVE YOU FOREVER.



Edited at 2009-05-02 04:52 pm (UTC)
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gothamafterdark
May. 2nd, 2009 09:39 pm (UTC)
Aha, another fic by you, so soon after I read your awesome zombie AU on ff.net too! Lucky lucky me, really! Love this, the way you choose your wording it’s like a painting, and so visual, I felt like I could really see that harbor and smell the salt water and I just adore that sort of detailing in writing! And I’m glad you’re not posting under Anon, you have a real talent, so nothing to be embarrassed about! Besides the sex was tastefully abstract, and I think that’s quite a rarity in fiction involving these two, and the change up was refreshing!

(Plus, Disintegration is one of the best albums ever and Same Deep Water as You is one of the best Cure songs ever, so you get instant kudos from me.)
etherati
May. 3rd, 2009 12:14 am (UTC)
Noooot an entirely appropriate song for the fic overall, but it had some imagery that worked and the weird dreamlike thing really connected, heh.

Thank you! I get these stories in my head very visually to begin with so I end up spending a lot of time trying to get the visuals across, I'm glad that's working. :) I will try not to post anon anymore, but I get ashamed of things really easily (that's why this one's not on ff.net, my ff.net account's sort of my 'respectable face' and I don't to be all LOL PORN there.) even when I know there's not anything to be embarrassed about. It took three or four people tag-teaming me on the kinkmeme to get me to post the zombie AU to ff.net heh.

Though to be honest, as I put in the notes, I was more embarrassed of the jarring narrative issues in the original version of this than I was of the sex bits. Since been remedied. :)
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hocus
May. 3rd, 2009 04:07 am (UTC)
oh man, do i love your writing style. this was so intense and beautiful and the part right at the beginning, when Rorschach jumps in after Daniel even without knowing how to swim...guh. that was perfect. i especially liked how completely disorienting it was underwater before he was able to find Daniel. that part was just so well done and i am SO HAPPY you wrote that the way you did instead of just having him magick Dan out of the water.

but really i'm pretty :3 about the whole thing.

oh! this line: He’s been broken to pieces, and he doesn’t need to take off the mask to show it, every twitch and shudder as clear as a brittle fracture line, spidering out from his core, distorting the picture into a thousand tiny reflections and refractions and ghosts.

amazing. this entire fic reads so much like poetry but that line in particular struck out at me.
etherati
May. 3rd, 2009 06:00 am (UTC)
Eee thank you. :D I thought at first people were going to be annoyed at how much of the fic I spent on the rescue, but I wanted it to really be difficult for him, to the point of him really not knowing if even he was going to survive much less Dan, to make it really hit home for him how close it'd come to Dan just being *gone*- as opposed to 'oh hey yeah you fell in and I pulled you out, you owe me.'

And yeah, I like that line a lot too :D I remember writing it and reacting with something akin to 'ooooh, shiny.'

Thank you so much!
raffi
May. 4th, 2009 03:11 pm (UTC)
Read it few days ago, just had no time to comment, but nooooooooow~ :DDD

Where do I begin? How can I pin my thoughts about this masterpiece down with words? All I can do is smash my keyboard in order to show you just how BAD my brain is broken. In extremely pleasant way. Please break my brain more often with your EXCELLENT fiction! ♥
etherati
May. 4th, 2009 07:44 pm (UTC)
I WILL ATTEMPT FURTHER BRAIN-BREAKAGE after the semester is over which is, unfortunately, in two weeks, vs. 35 minutes ago, which would be VASTLY preferable. Guh.

Thank you though! I'm thrilled that I was able to give you brain damage!.. erwait. Came out wrong. *coughs*
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etherati
May. 5th, 2009 04:18 am (UTC)
Haha thank you. It's such an awesome thing to feel like you're in the middle of a story, and I'm so glad I was able to do that. As for the sensory descriptions; one thing I've noticed is that my writing is pretty full of synaesthesia, but no one ever seems to care. Hopefully that means that it's working somehow. XD
akemi42
May. 5th, 2009 08:05 am (UTC)
This was beautifully written.
etherati
May. 5th, 2009 12:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
settiai
May. 13th, 2009 05:21 am (UTC)
So is it completely obvious that I'm making my way through all of your Watchmen fics? In all seriousness, though, this was absolutely brilliant.
etherati
May. 13th, 2009 05:27 am (UTC)
Yes I was starting to get that impression. XD

Thanks heh, it's the one I was most nervous about posting and most embarrassed of - more content than quality, writing this sort of thing makes me anxious - though that'll likely change in upcoming weeks. *coughs*
danceswithelvis
Jun. 5th, 2009 02:10 am (UTC)
This was gorgeous. Intense and even erotic in a way. I loved it.
etherati
Jun. 5th, 2009 08:46 am (UTC)
Thank you! Intense was definitely what I was going for. :D
teacrumb
Jun. 8th, 2009 03:37 am (UTC)
Daniel was more interested in Rorschach's CPR than the fact that he was dead for several minutes. >D And I do like the idea of Rorschach studying the pamphlet after going out in Archie. That just strikes me as many kinds of sweet. The tangible imagery in this is amazing! Thanks for writing it. ^__^
etherati
Jun. 8th, 2009 04:49 am (UTC)
YES HE WAS. *coughs* okay to be fair, he didn't actually know he'd been dead or anything until *after* he made the first kiss comment, but yeah. Life affirmation is very important! Or something! D:
midnite_vision
Jun. 12th, 2009 09:09 pm (UTC)
I think you broke my brain. I can't come up with any cohesive thought right now, so I'll just say that this was an amazing read. ♥
etherati
Jun. 12th, 2009 09:30 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'd offer to fix what I broke buuut brain surgery isn't my forte, sorry. :(
( 56 comments — Leave a comment )

what this is.


This is a fic journal for the most part, with some art on the side and a sprinkling of personal posts here and there. I don't write as much as I used to, but I try.

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