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FIC: The Hunted (Adult Content Warning)

Title: The Hunted
Fandom: Watchmen Zombie AU
Characters/Pairings: Z!Rorschach/Dan
Date Written: 2010
Summary: Predators and prey and all the room for fear/lust/surrender in between.
Rating/Warnings: R for the sex, but this one's intense and possibly triggery otherwise.
Notes: For Kink Bingo(prompt: 'emotion manipulation'), posted early just so I don't porn-bomb flists when I'm done. Not being crossposted until then.

*

He could be anyone, is anyone, self and purpose sliced away at by fingers and teeth in the dark until all that's left is the rush of the world as it passes, breakneck. A random prey creature reacting as prey, acting on the instincts living low in its spinal cord. Running.

There seems to be no end to the running.

Dan isn't built for it, this swift-footed dash, because he isn't built to be prey – broad-shouldered and dense and strong, more than capable of turning any hunt around on the hunted. He's done it more than once, outnumbered and herded into a blind dead-end, but that was before. The city plays by different rules these days.

Up there – fire escape. Rattling in its fittings, and he should know by now that his hunter is stealthier than that, can move like air and leave as little sign of his passage. That he's being toyed with. It won't connect - nothing's making it through besides run, move, MOVE

A shadow on a nearby landing, there and gone again.

The thought spikes through his mind, riding on adrenaline and terror and pure chemical fight-or-flight arousal: Never thought it'd be like this.

*

The night is brighter than it's ever been.

Brighter, faster, redder; more pulsing, like veins under his teeth, under his fingers. The pavement scrapes his bare feet and it should hurt but all he can think of is satisfying these urges, the need to drag his prey down into the gutter and press his face into that life and feel his head fill with the screaming and begging, the please and please don't of utter desperation.

He moves, keeping pace, hidden in the oily shadows of a city at new moon.

*

Near the waterfront, Dan stumbles, adrenaline putting his feet too far ahead of his eyes. It's just one step, one second to recover, but he's seen the documentaries and knows how perfect the hunted's steps must be, every one, to have even a chance. It won't be long now.

And he's too exposed; less places for an ambush to jump down from but no easy cover either. He doesn't stop moving but it still feels like wasting precious seconds to cast around for a better route, to invoke tactics (never his forte, but it is his, isn't it), to try to come up with something resembling a plan.

Through the next alley that isn't a dead end, into an unlocked door and through one of the disused warehouses, shops, whatever; put enough obstacles between them to bring the speed advantage to nothing.

God, that's stupid. He'll just trip, break his neck before the teeth ever land and if he's going to die it's not going to be because he went headlong over a packing crate.

A shadow coming up alongside his, long in the distant lamplight, and there's no more time to think.

*

He ducks in and out of hiding, far quicker on his feet than he should be for the length of his stride, moving low and predatory. There's fear in the air and it draws him in, moth to a flame, shark to blood. It smells like violence and sex and sudden death, layering over the city's already intoxicating stink.

His prey is fast, but he is faster.

*

Dan swings hard into the next alley he sees, hoping his hunter is too caught up in the chase, giving over too much control to momentum, won't be able to make the turn. Dan barely makes it himself, skidding out and righting himself and pushing off down the corridor as soon as his shoes find purchase again. He can hardly see, his vision blurred and smeary for reasons he can't quite remember, but even through the myopia he can tell that the alley's bare; no dumpsters or doorways to duck into, no fire escapes to climb, nothing to snatch up as an improvised weapon and the rectangle of dull light at the end of it far too far away.

Behind him, the sound of more agile feet making the turn with ease. Shit. Shit.

The moment breaks, and he's running again, chased by a hard slapping on the pavement behind him. The bastard's obviously come to the same conclusion and has abandoned stealth in favor of one last sprint, and there's no way Dan can outrun him, the sound getting louder and closer and louder and louder over the heaving of his breath as he pushes past pain and past regret, bolts flat-out as fast as he's capable of and it's still getting closer(inevitable) and closer(can't run) and then freezing fingers close on his shoulders, spinning him facefirst into the alley wall and the smell of stale rot is overpowering, suffocating, and oh god fight he has to fight–

He swings backwards with both fists, twisting in this iron grip, lashing out with one leg, anything, any hit he can land that might give him an opening, a way out.

Both hands are caught up behind him, twisted high until he's bent and his knees buckle, held there with one cold, clawing hand while the other winds into his hair, twists his head to one side in grotesque forced submission. When the teeth come, they don't sink in immediately; just drag across the column of his throat, agonizingly slow, and at this range there's no mistaking the sounds he's hearing as anything but hunger.

So much blood there, trapped inside of so much meat, and that's all there is to any of them, in the end.

"Oh god," Dan whimpers, too high but his legs are going to water, all the fight leaving him. "Don't, god, please don't, please–"

No pause, no indication that the words even connect as anything other than animal noises, fear noises, and that's what they degenerate into, a rising and falling note of terror. The teeth graze up under his jaw and now they do bite down, hard, the coiled body pressing against him and forcing him full-length against the scraping bricks of the wall. He jerks his arms, last-ditch struggling and he should be able to break free, he's the stronger one but all he can hear is his own pathetic wailing; all he can feel is sharp sharp sharp and the aching throb of blood just barely still contained, beating defiantly against death's ravenous mouth.

Another dull pulse, much lower, where he's painfully hard against the unyielding wall, and he's suddenly, shatteringly light-headed, the entire world (the alley, all there is, all there ever will be again) slipping out of itself in threads of sparking color.

Teeth spread wider, wrenching more of him between them, and he feels something wet running a trail down his neck. It could just be sweat but he's sure it's blood, is sure the skin's finally split and his killer isn't even growling in pursuit anymore; just the warm, satisfied grumble of having the time to bury its face in his blood and eat at its leisure, tear him to stringy pieces and swallow him raw.

"Please," he manages one last time, so quiet, and he can feel the word vibrate all the way down.

The body behind him presses in, rocks him sharply against the wall, so baldly sexual but killing and fucking are just shades of degree in an animal's mind, all just violence and taking and possessing, sheer intensity ringing in the blood.

There's a singsong growling at his throat, hand twisting tighter into his hair to expose the broad stretch of meat there and teeth pressing in even harder, sinking into him deeper and deeper in rough jerking bites and when he feels his release hit it's like death and blood mean nothing, life means nothing, nothing means anything and–

*

Darkness, in the aftermath, and silence too, senses too overloaded to process and maybe that's why he can't feel any pain.

The cool, wet pressure of a tongue then, replacing the teeth, laving over the bruises as if to clean them away. He's no longer restrained, cold hands moving to catch him against his buckling knees and lower them both carefully to the alley floor.

"You're okay," the voice says, and it's low and growly but it's human, a thinking voice. One hand settles on his chest where it heaves with breath, leans him back against the familiar taut body. He can feel himself trembling, and not all of it's from fear. "Safe. In no danger."

Dan makes some inarticulate noise, high in his throat.

A chill hand settles on his forehead; tilts his head back onto a shoulder, runs soothingly through his hair. For all its shivering his body feels completely limp, like he's stuffed with wet sand. A mouth nuzzles into his throat, nothing but the dry press of lips, and he could almost laugh because it's all coming back now.

[An idle conversation, sweat-slicked and painted in dim predawn light, what do you think about when we're–]

"Went too deep?" Rorschach asks, and it's exactly right because he feels like he's crawling up out of some bottomless hole, trying to get back up to the place where these hands on his body mean safe, mean nothing to fear.

"Yeah," he says, voice a little shaky, "god."

"Put up a good fight," Rorschach mutters against his skin, against the still-racing pulse, and Dan can feel it curve into an almost-smile. "Almost lost me a few times."

Dan groans again, this time in lax, boneless relief, just sinking back into the body behind him, molding to its curve. His skin feels like cold, liquid electricity, and there are parts of his brain he's sure he couldn't access now if he tried.

"Bullshit," he says, the word drawn out, languid. "Never happen."

Rorschach hmms into his throat but doesn't comment; just holds him there, both of them reacclimating to the contact and context, until Dan's heartbeat slows and his breath evens out under the steady, cold caress of lips and hands. There's a clicking sound, and motion, and his glasses settle back onto his nose, the familiar weight comforting. "Dropped those."

"Aah. Thank you."

"All right now?" Rorschach asks and, after a long moment, he nods.

They stagger to their feet, unsteady, and Rorschach makes sure not to fall behind him or drift out of his sight or break contact as they head, steps slow and careful, toward home.

*

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
marie_phantom
Jun. 28th, 2010 05:27 pm (UTC)
God, you had me scared there! I thought that Rorschach had snapped and was about to eat Dan! You build up the suspense so well, I was almost there with them, running through the streets of New York. A great addition to an already fantastic universe, I can't wait to see what else you have in store for us!
etherati
Jul. 7th, 2010 12:12 am (UTC)
And that is where the other aspect of the emotional manipulation comes in - fooling the reader. >:D

Which I guess, since I HAVE written Bad End for them in the past, it's not like it's totally beyond possibility that I might have done it again, but... I like this ending better.

Thanks!
wednesday42
Jun. 29th, 2010 03:04 am (UTC)
This is... pretty damned amazing, really. Z!Ror is so, so very "other" in your writing, and Dan has become a bit "other" himself thanks to their relationship, and it's most clear in this.
etherati
Jul. 7th, 2010 12:11 am (UTC)
Wow, thank you so much. I worry sometimes that the otherness isn't there as much as I'd like it to be, but it's possible I've just gotten too used to writing him, hah. And yeah, Dan's been given a lot of very good, acceptable reasons to be playing with these edgy emotions in this context, which I don't think he has so much in canon.

Thanksss <3
unimagine
Jun. 29th, 2010 05:28 am (UTC)
eep.

Oh my god that was intense and DAN YOU ARE QUITE KINKY AREN'T YOU and the You're okay.

I love how in tune with each other they are, especially at the end. <3

(Er. In case you think I'm a random creeper being overly familiar and flaily in your journal, I'm that annoying person who always pointed out typos in your fics. I've been gone from Watchmen fandom for about...six months. xD;)
etherati
Jul. 7th, 2010 12:09 am (UTC)
I remember you! How could I forget. :) Welcome back!

Thank you, intense was definitely the aim and also basically Dan's danger kink taken to extreme levels, but I couldn't have left it without some kind of aftercare, and these two are def much more in tune with each other than most other versions of them I've written. I doubt they even really knew what they were doing here, in formal terms, but they know each other and each other's needs and that's enough.
leaper182
Jun. 27th, 2011 04:39 am (UTC)
That was scary, and so utterly delicious when it was just a chase, and not Rorschach out of his mind.

Thank you for that. Mmmmmmm.
etherati
Jun. 29th, 2011 08:02 pm (UTC)
What I love most is that so many people felt it was actually plausible for ror to have lost it - if you go into it knowing what's going on, where's the fun in it! :DD

Thank you <3
leaper182
Jul. 8th, 2011 02:26 pm (UTC)
I think that's one of the things that you do really well in this series -- there's that edge where we already know that Rorschach is, well, Rorschach, and it would be so easy to tip him off into total insanity. And Dan would be his first target because he's there.

Now, I'm ridiculously glad that this wasn't Ror losing his shit, but I'm also glad that this was kind of a demonstration -- if Ror really did lose his shit, would Dan be able to get away, would he make it? And yeah, he wouldn't, but it's okay, because Ror isn't a mindless zombie eating people. It's okay. <3
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )