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FIC: Columba carnivora

Title: Columba carnivora
Fandom: Watchmen
Characters/Pairings: Z!Rorschach/Dan
Date Written: 2011
Summary: Dan gets a bird named after him, and Rorschach hits a home run. AKA, the one with the zombie pigeons.
Rating/Warnings: PG-13, nonsense.
Notes: Zombie!verse. Utter silliness. For zombie_fest .
 
*

He's been staring the pigeon down all morning.

Really, it's not been the same pigeon the whole time; that would be ridiculous. But they've been coming out of the cracks and crevasses of the city as he walks, sauntering jerkily into his path, bobbing heads tilted off-kilter and usually dull little eyes bright with purpose. It's unnerving.

"Leave," he says, a little louder than he'd like. He imagines there's likely a better word, a whole language utilized by those who speak to animals on a daily basis, but he doesn't know it. He treats the blood-smeared bird like he would a criminal, or a trespasser. "Now."

Unnerving and familiar, and they said it over and over but they said a lot of things in those early days that were later proved untrue: the virus cannot affect animals.

On the sidewalk, the pigeon cocks its head, works its beak mindlessly in the air. Walter lifts his sign from his shoulder, settling the heft of it in his hands. No one's been swarmed yet, but it's only a matter of time before someone is pecked into intensive care, and even if the bird is smart enough to realize he isn't valid prey—not a proposition he'd give good odds on, if he were so inclined—it might be time to start taking them out on sight.

"Last chance," he growls, "Walk away."

Instead, the bird takes another broken, bobbing step toward him, red eyes gleaming—and the impact shakes up the sign's handle like the first shot fired in some long, bloody war. The tiny, infected little ball of feathers sails out of sight over a nearby newsstand; the man selling papers leans out over the racks, laughs, because he didn't see what that was, doesn't get it yet.

"Hey, home run!" he laughs, and Walter buys his papers here every day. He feels a prickling of dread. "Maybe you shoulda been a ball player, kid. Tried out for the Mets or somethin'."

"Get back inside." Walter doesn't relax his stance or divert his gaze. "Pull down your window."

Incredulously: "What the hell are you talkin' abou-"

Somewhere, a clumsy explosion of wings, what sounds like dozens of birds taking flight, heavy and unbalanced, all at once. "Don't argue," Walter growls, and takes his freakish predator's eyes off the storefronts and alleyways for just long enough to make his point.

The newsvendor shudders in place, shocked pallor visible from even this far away. He's habitually terrified of Walter, in that joking way that tries and fails to be something else, but he seems suddenly reminded that there are worse things than weird zombie hobos who pay for their papers entirely with nickels. He nods, ducks back inside without another word, and the jointed metal curtain slithers down its runners.

Distantly, the crunch of cars colliding, the singsong wail of sirens. A few screams, confusion and fear wrapping around each other, nurtured by the early morning caffeine rush. Flock of Unruly Pigeons Wreaks Havoc with Morning Commute, the headlines will run. They have no idea.

The fluttering gets louder. Against the morning sun, a dark cloud, and Walter tightens his grip on the sign, rolls his shoulders.

Burbling psychotically, they descend.

*

Dead or alive, pigeons aren't the smartest of creatures—going after him, for instance, when it's living flesh they should be pursuing. And he can only assume, after, that every infected bird in the city had congregated into one large group, seeking warmth in numbers. It'd made them that much easier to deal with, completely and thoroughly.

He's shaky on the front steps, one hand on the banister. The other still clutches the sign, matted with feathers and brown, spoiled blood, and he looks like he's been shredded to pieces. It's not far from the truth.

His clothing is ripped in a hundred places, and every inch of exposed skin is torn and bruised. They'd dropped on him like an enormously heavy blanket of wings and clawing, pecking doom, trying to knock him to the asphalt where it would be easier to take him apart. They'd been annoyed when he stood his ground, even more annoyed when their efforts drew no blood and yielded nothing even vaguely appetizing, and by then he'd started cutting through them with his usual ruthless efficiency.

It was good that Daniel wasn't there, he realizes, reaching for the doorknob. It's not something he would have wanted to see.

Sparing him the aftermath is apparently not in the cards, though. Daniel's in the front room, perched nervously on the edge of the couch, watching what looks like the early morning news with all due anxiety. Rorschach wonders idly whether it's the car crash or the carnage he'd left on the sidewalk that's on the screen.

Daniel glances up at him, nods in greeting, looks back to the screen—doubletakes, and is up before the anchorman can say Unbelievable mess of blood and feathers, I just don't know Bob, I've never seen anything like it.

"What happened?" Daniel is asking, reaching to take the sign away. Rorschach makes sure to hand him the clean end. "Are you okay?"

Rorschach shrugs. Chooses to answer only the first question. "Discovered new species of carnivorous pigeon," he says, deadpan. "Know you have a fondness for them, will name it after you."

"…really."

"Unfortunately extinct now." He shrugs again. "How it goes, sometimes."

Daniel reaches to help him out of his suit jacket, which in addition to being torn and bloodied, smells positively foul. Annoyed pigeons often take extreme measures. "Only discovering a new creature as it slips through our fingers, huh?"

"Terrible shame."

"I'm sure."

The banter trails off; Rorschach wouldn't normally need the help and he doesn't really need it now, but he knows he must look a fright and furthermore, that Daniel has a strange proclivity for providing it. He allows it, this once, and the jacket eventually peels free. It's pretty much a complete loss.

"So," Daniel says, balling it up and setting it in the entryway to deal with later. "Seriously. What happened out there?"

Rorschach narrows his eyes. He can see the way Daniel's gaze keep falling on the binoculars and birding book he keeps on the end table, like a nervous, obsessive tic.

"Seriously?" he repeats, kicking off his shoes; they leave bloody streaks on the tile. "Don't go outside."

*

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
jack_infinitude
Feb. 6th, 2011 11:08 pm (UTC)
Hilarious and horrifying in turns. Excellent job!
etherati
Mar. 22nd, 2011 03:20 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Exactly what I was aiming for. :D
bane_6
Feb. 7th, 2011 04:26 am (UTC)
Birds could've ended a whole other way if the cast had been swinging something that could double as club and shield. I agree that this was hilarious and a little hideous as well, and I can't help but wonder... Could an attacked human be infected by a zombie pigeon?
etherati
Mar. 22nd, 2011 03:20 pm (UTC)
Iiii think that pigeons tend to salivate less than people? It basically depends on whether they can get the viral load into said person's bloodstream. Probably it'd be hit and miss, but possible, and I think Ror's assuming it can happen or he might not be taking such a harsh stance with them.

And thanks; humor and horror are a great combination. :D
mad_bertha
Feb. 7th, 2011 01:03 pm (UTC)
Birds zombie style YES! I always love hoboschach being awesome and this didn't disappoint--plus the way you wrote Dan and Rorschach skirting over a sensitive topic is just perfect. And my favourite line has to be:

"Discovered new species of carnivorous pigeon," he says, deadpan. "Know you have a fondness for them, will name it after you."

etherati
Mar. 22nd, 2011 03:18 pm (UTC)
I have to give credit where it's due; steals_thyme gave me that line as bait to get me to write it ;D

But yes, hoboschach being awesome is always a high point. Thanks so much ber :)
(Anonymous)
Feb. 12th, 2011 05:40 am (UTC)
I read this while listening to I'll Make A Man Out Of You. Oddly enough, it fit. *shrug*
etherati
Mar. 22nd, 2011 03:16 pm (UTC)
Hey, I've seen stranger things!
marginaliac
Mar. 15th, 2011 11:52 pm (UTC)
"Burbling psychotically, they descend."

WORTH IT FOR THAT LINE ALONE.

Also, I love that Rorschach talks to pigeons in precisely the same way he talks to criminals. (Or really anyone but Dan.)
etherati
Mar. 22nd, 2011 03:16 pm (UTC)
Pigeons ARE criminals. They loiter, they steal, they crap all over public property! They should be locked up, all of them!

Thank you; that's probably one of my fav lines in the whole thing. :)
( 10 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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