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FIC: Luck

Title: Luck
Fandom: Watchmen
Characters/Pairings: Z!Ror, Dan
Date Written: 2009
Summary: When you have unconventional things to be thankful for, be thankful in unconventional ways.
Rating/Warnings: PG.
Notes: Zombieverse Thanksgiving, because I am a dork. Set just before the end of NaB, technically.

*

Good intentions only stretch so far.

For Rorschach, holidays have always been just below the noise floor of his awareness. They were not even mentioned to the neglected child, not explained to the boy in the home – he was only expected to go through the motions – not appreciated in adulthood but for the calmer nights of patrolling they usually offered. He understands why Daniel comes in one afternoon hauling a frozen turkey, headless and wrapped in plastic like a mockery of a corpse in a bodybag, but he has no expectations.

"This'll be good," Daniel says, after the long, scrabbling battle to fit the thing into his mostly-full freezer has left him leaning, winded, against the countertop. "I mean, I've never... well, it'll just be good."

It's only when he finds Daniel an hour later, half of one cabinet emptied of its books and scraps of paper all over the kitchen floor – his mother's recipe for stuffed turkey, he says, he can't find the damn thing – that he knows what the rest of the sentence had been. Never done this before.

And really – has he ever had any reason to?

*

"Too much," Rorschach says, peering over his shoulder into the freezer. Dan's inclined to agree, and sighs.

"Yeah, well. Lotta leftovers, I guess. They didn't have anything smaller."

"Wasteful."

Dan laughs, pinching the bridge of his nose, just below the glasses. "Yeah, like you won't gnaw every bone clean as soon as my back's turned."

"Hrm," Rorschach says, but it sounds like a laugh.

*

He still hasn't found the damned recipe – but how hard can it be, really? Make the oven hot, stick it in there, wait until it's done. Right?

And it would have worked, too - if it'd been defrosted first, and he had meant to pull it out before patrol, give it all night to thaw. As it is, he doesn't even think of it until his noon alarm goes off, pulling him from five hours of fitful sleep, summoning an image into his brain of a rock-hard bird carcass still languishing in the freezer.

"...damn it! "

*

"I'm so sorry, man. I really wanted to... I don't know. Make this work."

Daniel's staring down at the frozen lump, useless on the counter between them. Rorschach's staring at Daniel, trying to puzzle out the expression on his face. "It's all right, Daniel. Had no expectations."

"I know, I just..." he scrubs one hand over his face, up under the glasses. "It shouldn't be so hard, to celebrate something so simple."

Rorschach regards the turkey for a moment; the turkey regards him back with the great hollow eye where its neck used to be. It's such a gruesome tradition, really.

Daniel laughs, self-derisive. "Should at least be easier than–"

Rorschach doesn't hear the rest – slips off into the foyer to retrieve his coat and Daniel's. Reappears in the kitchen with the garment held out like an offering.

Daniel takes it, shucks it on without question. They leave the bird to its frostbitten dreams.

*

They tread through the slush of last week's snowstorm and the swirling powder of today's, still scattering from their path and sticking delicately to Rorschach's face, lodging in his unshaven stubble. There's a lot of winter ahead – Dan can see his breath clearly and Rorschach's changed out his too-recognizable fedora for a knit hat to keep the worst of it off – but there'll be a spring after that and a summer too, and who knows what they'll bring.

Maybe...

Before the thought can properly gather, Rorschach nods towards the first place they've found that's open, a Chinese hole-in-the-wall with counter service and the smell of green tea and greasy chicken curling like ambrosia through the cold of the day.

They duck inside to the sound of cheap metal bells, strung over the door, and the single waiter – the cook today too, if the apron is anything to go by – smiles indulgently at them as they bundle up to the counter. "Burn your turkey?" he asks, dropping menus in front of them.

"Other way around," Rorschach says, the edge of a smile in his voice, beating Dan to the obvious joke before he can even think of it.

So they drink tea and hot soup and Rorschach picks the beef out of his food and leaves the rest, and Dan has maybe too much orange chicken and lo mein and the man at the counter never once looks at them strangely as this odd American tries to teach his pale, pale friend how to use chopsticks correctly. It's almost comical, and watching a porcelain cat wave its paw cheerfully from the cash register, Dan realizes all at once: Everything they are, everything they have, has just been so much dumb luck.

Luck. Fortune. Chance. They're alive and healthy and Rorschach is sane enough to fumble his sticks and grouse and then give up, go back to the plastic fork with barely disguised disdain. Yes, there are too many deaths dogging the past but no matter how close it'd come and no matter how recently, none have dragged them down with them – and in a city that'd been draped in corpses and on the verge of anarchy and swarming with hordes of the ravening undead only months ago, it's a hell of a lot to be thankful for.

*

They take their last order to go and climb with it up a nearby fire escape, iron rungs colder against his bare hands than anything Dan's ever felt. It's not a high roof, but it's icy, so it's treacherous enough. They sit a foot or two in from its edge, shoulder to shoulder, teasing greasy eggrolls from steaming wax paper bags.

The city below them is blanketed in white, glow blossoming through the mist where apartment lights turn on and off, the hush of few cars and fewer people and no echoes, sound eaten up by the snow. It's an insane place, he knows, but right now it feels safe and quiet and calm, and it lets him remember the things it’s given them instead of the things it's taken away.

From the side, the sound of Rorschach crunching contentedly, steam billowing up between them, the insides of the eggrolls like hot coals in their mouths. Below, a child in a thick, immobile winter coat catches sight of them through the white-out and waves. The neon of the Chinese restaurant's 'open' sign blinks happily across the road. A clutch of pigeons are sheltering under a nearby eave, warming each other in the darkness.

Spring, eventually, then summer, and who knows...

"You see?" comes the low growl, and it's lighter than usual, less weighted down. "Not very hard."

*

Comments

( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
psion_dynamo
Nov. 12th, 2009 06:32 am (UTC)
*sigh*
thank you.
etherati
Nov. 12th, 2009 06:36 am (UTC)
Re: *sigh*
You're quite welcome, and thank you.
acidicfog
Nov. 12th, 2009 06:32 am (UTC)
And suddenly I developed some faith in Thanksgiving.
etherati
Nov. 12th, 2009 06:37 am (UTC)
It's sure as hell not about the giant dead bird, but there's something to be said for taking account of the fortune you've had, yeah. :)

Thanks!
tortoisegirl
Nov. 12th, 2009 09:01 am (UTC)
The little kid waving at the two weirdos chilling on the rooftop is really making me smile. The rest of it too, but that in particular.
etherati
Nov. 12th, 2009 03:26 pm (UTC)
I loved that too; kids notice things adults don't, because they look elsewhere than just straight in front of them or at their own feet. They still bother with looking up.

Thank you <3
liodain
Nov. 12th, 2009 12:45 pm (UTC)
That's a cunning hat you got there, Rorschach :D I caught the redraw for that yesterday morning and squealed, haha.

Rorschach's staring at Daniel, trying to puzzle out the expression on his face.
Poor Dan. I know exactly how he feels; I get irrationally upset when I mess up a meal, particularly when its meant to be An Occasion. Oh, but good on Rorschach for knowing just the right thing to do, whether it was sheer luck or him being a little more savvy about personal relationships now <3
etherati
Nov. 12th, 2009 03:22 pm (UTC)
Slip is wonderful XD CUNNING INDEED.

whether it was sheer luck or him being a little more savvy about personal relationships now

I think it was mostly just that he was HUNGRY and basically went OK, FUCK THIS NOISE, WE'RE GETTING TAKEOUT.

Poor Dan is such a bachelor haha. 'make it hot' XD SORRY DAN that is not actually how cooking works.
unimagine
Nov. 12th, 2009 11:40 pm (UTC)
This was so sweet. :')

Make the oven hot, stick it in there, wait until it's done. Right?

Oh Dan, you adorkable bachelor you.

I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving~
etherati
Nov. 13th, 2009 01:55 am (UTC)
He is such a dork hahah.

Thank you, and you!
i_am_your_spy
Nov. 12th, 2009 11:42 pm (UTC)
D'awww.

I don't really do Thanksgiving, but I am thankful for the Z!verse.
etherati
Nov. 13th, 2009 01:56 am (UTC)
I haven't done one traditionally in years; take-out is very often the fallback haha.

And thank you <3
jeanemon
Nov. 13th, 2009 12:41 am (UTC)
I'm going to go and re-read this again, but all my brain can say is:

"...Is Rorschach wearing a Cunning hat?"
jeanemon
Nov. 13th, 2009 12:45 am (UTC)
And now that I've had a chance to stop gleeing:

I really enjoyed this. Dan's such a domestic little man. Him wanting everything to be perfect is so cute. And I love that Ror tried to use the chopsticks instead of just hurmphing them away.

Very cute, made my night!
etherati
Nov. 13th, 2009 01:58 am (UTC)
YES YES HE IS. At least according to slip, who drew it for me heh. :3

Dan tries so hard and actually, so does Ror; he's just more pragmatic about it. Instead of staring at frozen turkey, it is time to go find take out. Logical.

Thank you!

ereshkigal2
Nov. 15th, 2009 09:19 am (UTC)
That is so beautiful. Best zombie-giving ever.
etherati
Nov. 15th, 2009 10:20 am (UTC)
Thanks!

Zombies make the best thanksgiving-contingency-plan providers, because it's all about finding food ahaha.
lampsh4de
Nov. 23rd, 2009 12:25 am (UTC)
:) Aah.
etherati
Nov. 23rd, 2009 12:38 am (UTC)
:3 They're sweet sometimes.
moonlit_elm
Dec. 10th, 2009 05:09 pm (UTC)
I love the Z!Ror fics, so much. Like, they make me so happy. I love this sooo much, you have no idea @_@
etherati
Dec. 11th, 2009 05:27 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much; Z!Ror makes me very happy too haha. I knew as soon as I finished the first story that I was never ever going to escape his grip. ZOMBIES ARE TOOTHY AND TENACIOUS.
moonlit_elm
Dec. 11th, 2009 05:36 pm (UTC)
LOL I've actually been webstalking your journal for a long time. I find that your fics always end up being my favorites! Although I've just recently come out of my lurking status so...Hi!! ^^
etherati
Dec. 11th, 2009 06:03 pm (UTC)
Hi! I love it when lurkers unlurk haha it's always great to see new faces.
moonlit_elm
Dec. 11th, 2009 06:06 pm (UTC)
lol yeaaah...I don't think I'll be posting anything anytime soon though. I'm not all that good at art, and my writing skills have been abducted by the South Park fandom...XDDD
etherati
Dec. 11th, 2009 06:07 pm (UTC)
That's okay, it's still great to meet you. :)
wednesday42
Jan. 11th, 2011 02:22 pm (UTC)
Why... why have I never commented on this?!

It contains so much of what I love about D/R - Dan's intentions (successful or not) to do nice things for Ror, Ror's perceptiveness and bass-ackward sensitivity of his own, and the little disasters that point out just how adorably abnormal their lives occasionally are. x3 *picks up fic and hugs it*
etherati
Mar. 22nd, 2011 03:38 pm (UTC)
Eee, thank you. :) Rorschach's way of responding to these situations really is so backwards, but the beauty of it all is that Dan understands it and knows how to respond to it, through sheer habituation. They are adorable sometimes, even if they'd never admit it.
( 27 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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