Date Written: 2009
Summary: Ficlets. The first 4 are really small microfics, a self-issued Captcha challenge of 'I can relate anything to zombies', and are therefore all zombie!verse. The 5th is an AU of the zombie!verse(I AU'ed my own AU, I know, I know), also a Captcha fic, not posted elsewhere. The 6th is just a bonus bit of non-Zombie, non-angsty, slashy fluff.
Rating/Warnings: PG-13 for language. Language in #2, politics in #3, imminent character death in #5(but it's only AU, so it's okay D:), Dan/Ror slash and teeth-rotting sweetness in #6.
#1 - Prompt: 'doves 44c'
It's hot. It's goddamned hot, midday in July and easily 110 degrees, and they're out in costume because riots and crime sprees and other acts of spontaneous and contagious violence don't always follow their schedule. Dan's dark, dark costume, thick with Kevlar - and the human furnace he has trapped inside it - are doing him no favors.
Rorschach stands off to the side, unbowed, mask following the crowd inscrutably.
Dan puts his hand against the stone wall beside them, ducking his head to run the other up under his goggles, clear the sweat away. Glances up. "You know, you're making me hotter just to look at you, in all those layers."
Rorschach just shrugs, and Dan realizes: pain in the ass a 50 degree core temperature might be in winter, his partner has the extreme upper hand right now, those layers doing nothing but trapping in the cold. He's almost - almost - jealous.
"Need a lighter colored uniform for summer, Daniel. Reflect the sun away." He nods up to the wall over their heads; a handful of dingy white doves are perched amongst the dark pigeons, seemingly having an easier time.
"What?" Dan asks, grinning. "Take a lesson from the neighbors, huh?"
"Nite Dove," Rorschach mutters, and it's a joke, and unbearable heat or not, it's suddenly a good day.
#2 - Prompt: 'quarter stickups'
The kid's been using the city's fear - fear still distilled in the remembered stink of piled bodies and the shrieking chorus that had filled its soundscape at night - to get away with a series of embarrassingly pathetic, small-time stickups. $50 here, $20 there, all corner stores in low traffic areas; he may as well be robbing quarters from gumball machines. But he doesn't need a gun - no one wants to risk a mauling and they're still ill-informed enough to think it's a possibility - so he doesn't have to worry about armed robbery charges, and it's good.
Until the night that he has his hands in the clerk's shirt, yanking him up, best theatrical growl in place, and a firm hand settles on his shoulder, spins him back around.
Oh. Oh, fuck.
Masks don't usually bother with people like him - with crimes this small and petty. They fight gangs and drug runners, they stop rape and murder. They don't interfere with-
Then an answering growl hits his ears, and he knows: This is personal, and he's not going to be able to frighten this one off with all the horror movie bullshit in the world.
#3 Prompt: 'overrule 1,630,000'
The motion hits the city ballot the next fall: to make it illegal to deny a person housing, employment, all the usual things, based on their 'metabolic status'. It's a ridiculous euphemism, but it's not like the word 'zombie' was ever going to show up in a city council bill.
The results come in with all of the others, and it's buried somewhere on the third page. 5,750,000 for, 1,630,000 against. As votes go, it's a landslide, but Dan hesitates over it for a moment, brow creasing.
Rorschach reaches across the table, takes the paper away. "Problem, Daniel?"
"No, just - makes me kind of crazy, that there's a million and a half people here who think you shouldn't..."
A low grunt, dismissive. Rorschach turns past the election results, on to the real news, the news that matters, red pen out and ready. There are more important things to worry about.
#4 Prompt: 'learned appetites'
He doesn't like heavy meals. Never has - dense food slows him down, weighs him down, sits in his stomach like a leaden brick - but there are adjustments that have to be made.
Daniel cooks for him, now. Doesn't trust him to do it himself and not set the place on fire, and there's some basis for that. He could probably eat the cuts of sirloin raw at this point, but Daniel says he couldn't stand to be in the room watching him eat it like that, so it is seared bloody rare and no further and it is a reasonable compromise.
He doesn't like heavy food. But Daniel leans to shake the pan, the broad curve of his throat exposed under the kitchen's incandescents, and Rorschach remembers how sharply the blood had smelled and the way Daniel's pulse had raced under his teeth, and he knows that there are worse things than this, here, now: a place he can call home and a living, breathing friend who doesn't hold these weaknesses against him.
#5 Prompt: 'serum 11-'
They're holding him down, threading fresh leather bindings over his arms, his wrists, his ankles – around his throat, to quiet his seizing and keep him from breaking any noses with his skull. They have good reason; the dull off-white hospital scrubs are twisted and knotted around him and he hasn't stopped fighting since they moved him up to the experimental ward this morning. His wrists are chafed raw and blue-grey from wrenching at the restraints. He's taken to frothing. He's not even aware of it.
The doctors are wearing hazmat suits on this level. They're very careful of their drips and syringes; every vial and bag marked with a violent swath of red and a stark biohazard symbol, and the suits don't come off because they don't even want to breathe air that's been exposed to the things they're shooting into him.
Hands clamp onto his shoulders, hold him down and relatively still. He's long since torn the stitches out of his leg; they haven't replaced them, and aren't likely to need to at this rate. Whatever's in this syringe – there've been close to a dozen over the last sixteen hours – stings going in, cold and sharp. It's different, not like the others they've given him, an ache burning through his fouled and dirty blood, coiling up somewhere in his chest; he can already feel his breath starting to falter.
"We're going to make you whole, Mr. Kovacs," says the doctor hovering over him, and all he can see in the plastic shielding over the man's face is himself, wide-eyed and death-pale and thrashing, struggling. And that's fine, because he'd rather the last thing he sees be proof and reassurance that he went down fighting, instead of the cold black snake-pit eyes he's sure are hiding behind the hazmat mask, full of hollow lies and even more hollow promises.
Whole. The word makes no sense, right now; his uniform is in the alley, his mask, his name, everything he really is tucked away in safety. His blood, vial after vial, is in a lab somewhere downstairs, being pulled apart and studied, and he feels empty and scooped out, ready to put an end to this, one way or another. His eyes are bleeding, and that shouldn't be possible anymore, but the wetness tracking his cheeks is cold and sticky against the air and–
He shouldn't have come here. He should have borne the pain, and taken the chance of a longer trip – risked further attack, risked passing out from blood loss, risked exposure – and gone to the Owl's Nest.
Gone to Daniel.
#6 'Uncomplicated' - Prompt: This Picture
[Because after that last one, I needed to cheer myself up. D:]
"C'mere," Daniel says from the end of the couch, voice subdued and warm, golden like the slanting sunlight filtering in through the window. It plays over the upholstery and the delicately patterned wallpaper and all through Daniel's hair, painting the world with a skewed, comfortable surreality that makes Walter forget, for a long moment, that these are things for ordinary people - for people who aren't part of any secret fraternities, who don't spend their nights carving a path of righteous violence into the city's calloused heart.
So - forgetfulness in place, fuzzy and thrumming - he follows Daniel into the cushions, sprawling across him like some boneless, melting thing. It's a warm day and his arms are half-bare and the skin there breaks out in gooseflesh when Daniel's hand grips, slides up, gently seeking out a handhold on his shoulder.
And when Daniel leans up to catch his mouth in a kiss, it is as languid and warm and golden as his voice had been, as the sunlight still is, scattering around the edges of vision and recasting the lie into truth: they are ordinary people, and they have hours before that changes, and they have time for moments like these, sun-warmed and slow and uncomplicated.