Date Written: 2009
Summary: Ficlets. #1 was for the prompt "Write Rorschach eating something other than beans", #2 and #3 are Captcha fics. #1 and #2 are Dan and Ror, #3 is Adrian.
Rating/Warnings: PG. Nothing particularly offensive. Zombie!schach in #2, feline-on-human violence(of the ultimately adorable sort) in #3. #3 is also terminally silly and ridiculous, but whatever heh.
#1 - WAFFLE TIME - Prompt: "Rorschach eating something other than beans."
Dan's standing in front of his stove, the skillet in his hand utterly useless if the direction of this conversation is to be believed. He'd only even offered pancakes because he was already making a few for himself; saw no harm in using up all of the batter instead of half of it, and Rorschach has never been picky about what's handed to him.
"Superior product in every way, Daniel," Rorschach asserts, tilting his head to one side as if the statement is so obvious that even saying it aloud is a curiosity.
Dan lets the pan clatter to the counter; rubs circles into his temples, cradling a rapidly blossoming headache. "The batter's completely different, I can't just use it without adjustments..."
And he knows Rorschach won't tell him to adjust it, to go ahead and add more sugar and whatever else it needs, to haul his ancient waffle iron down from the top cabinet and get to work - but under normal circumstances, he wouldn't even still be here. Would have long since pushed his chair out(scraping the legs across the linoleum the entire way), made some noise about not wanting to inconvenience him, been gone.
Under the pulled-up mask, Rorschach's mouth is a tight line of indecision. He seems paler than he should be, cheeks sunken more than they were this time last week. Dan wonders idly when the last time was that he actually ate.
It takes an extra half-hour to adjust the batter and get the old iron heated up, but sitting across the table from Rorschach as he carefully fills in tiny squares with syrup, creating symmetric patterns in the grid, something almost like a smile on his face - all Dan can think is, really, what's an extra half hour out of his life, for this?
#2 - Prompt: 'Red sniff'
Nite Owl puts a hand to his cowled forehead; he has never felt so exasperated in his life. "Rorschach, you can't smell Communism."
A quiet 'hrm' in the dark of the warehouse, and Rorschach is crouched over their paltry collection of gathered clues, poking through them with a careful finger. There's a puddle of blood nearby and the thumb of his glove is stained from bringing a sample of it up to his nose, sniffed at with some kind of weighty, measured significance.
"Better sense of smell than you, Nite Owl," Rorschach says, and he says it because it's true, but there's something in the tone that makes Dan think he also says it specifically to infuriate him.
It works. Nite Owl paces. His hand gesticulates indistinctly as he moves, as if he can't quite wrap his mind around the words he's trying to force out of his mouth, as if their inanity is staggering him into incoherency. "...it doesn't matter. Communism is a belief system-"
"Economic system," Rorschach huffs, picking up a matchbook, turning it over. "Inextricably entangled with the ruling body and designed to subjugate free thought."
"...not a thing you can smell."
His pacing is making too much noise; a clutch of pigeons scatter up from some industrial litter near his feet and into the rafters. He doesn't notice. Rorschach is examining a stub of pencil now, the eraser bitten clean off. He doesn't say anything, clearly doesn't think his assertion that their suspect 'smells Communist' needs any defending.
"I mean," Nite Owl continues, egged on by the blatant, challenging silence. "If you'd said he smelled anemic, or smelled like a heroin-addict, or hell, even that he smelled like he had Chinese for lunch today, I could buy that. But you can't-"
"Stain on the matchbook," Rorschach cuts him off, standing smoothly. "Scent indicates a particular brand of bootlegged potato vodka only served in one venue in the city, Soviet-themed bar and a known haven for Communist sympathizers. Alcohol level in blood shows recent patronage. Pencil stub is covered in rubbed-off newsprint; the ink is one used in a cheap printing process utilized by seven known underground newspapers. Six are radical left-wing, and four admit openly to Communist affiliation."
Silence. Somewhere above them, a pigeon ruffles its feathers.
"Oh," Nite Owl says.
Rorschach pulls a plastic bag from one pocket and carefully starts putting the clues inside, for safekeeping. This character, they've been after for months; the usual lackadaisical 'leave it for the police' crime scene methods aren't going to be productive here. He doesn't say a word, but when a taxi goes by outside, temporarily flooding the room with light, Nite Owl can swear he sees him smirking under the halfway pulled-up mask.
"But, I mean..." A short laugh, still strung out with incredulity. "This isn't 1949. It doesn't really matter if he's Communist. Legally, I mean."
Rorschach shrugs, sealing the bag, and yes - the smirk is there, layered into the tight cording of his voice. "Of course not," he says, as deadpan as he's ever managed. "Was just commenting."
#3 - Prompt: 'Airlines kitties'
(AN: I know the idea of Adrian flying commercial is absurd, but once the captcha came up I couldn't resist.)
He only ever attempts to travel with Bubastis once.
She's a kitten, a tiny thing, all brilliantly hued fur still coming in in random clumps as if she hasn't quite decided what color she wants to be yet. The geneticists were primarily focused on physical health and viability; they've given even odds on red or lilac-blue, and while red would certainly be more 'natural', Adrian's been secretly hoping for the latter.
Not that any of that matters worth a damn, when the airline attendant peers into the underseat carrier he's brought her in and looks up at him with mistrust and horror in her eyes. "What is that?" she asks, as if he's brought a bloody, rabid badger to her instead of a marvelously adorable baby lynx, color-coordination issues notwithstanding.
"A cat," he says simply, eying the attendant with a careful blend of sympathy and wariness, as if to say 'I'm dreadfully sorry you're so unintelligent; your family must be devastated.'
It does the trick.
On the airplane, she begins to yowl. He expects this during the rapid pressure-change of takeoff, expects her to stop once they've leveled off.
She does not stop.
There is grumbling around him about pets being allowed in the first-class compartment.
"She's a very first-class sort of cat," Adrian replies, and his tone could freeze fire. The compartment is silent for the rest of the flight.
Silent, of course, except for his poor baby girl, who will not. Stop. Crying.
Two hours over the Pacific and he decides to open the travel bag a tiny bit, sneak her a morsel of something in case all this noise is hunger - he has a travel packet of both the ostrich and salmon she's becoming accustomed to, as well as a vending-machine bag of cheesy crackers, an unhealthy indulgence that he figures won't do her any harm just this once. But when he reaches into the bag to try to calm her, inch-long canines sink straight into his hand.
He makes a strangled sound, smiling through the agony - retracts his hand, and politely asks the nearest stewardess for a clean towel and a bandage, please.
Afterward, he eats the crackers himself. It's satisfying.
Thirteen hours and he would have thought infantile feline lungs and vocal cords would have given out by now, but he'd have been wrong.
He's prodded awake by the large, sweaty man in the seat next to him, in the badly cut suit and worse hairpiece. He's only just managed to get to sleep amidst the cacophony and now he's been woken up -
"Need to do something about that," he man says, pointing to the bag, and Adrian's about to snap that yes, yes, he knows, he's been trying, when the smell hits him like the front grill of a run-down, unmarked van.
"...oh, Bubs," he mutters, leaning down towards the bag, nose tightly clenched between two fingers. "Tell me you didn't."
By the time he reaches his destination, he emerges an Adrian Veidt that the world has never seen before, even after the longest international jaunts: haggard, worn, with dark bags under his eyes, a badly bandaged hand, a head that feels like cold iron, dragging towards the ground. It's all he can do to check into his hotel - the penthouse suite, naturally, and no, they don't usually accept pets but of course for Mr. Veidt they will make an exception - and let Bubastis out of her carrier to explore her new environs, all kittenish joy and curiosity.
Through the haze of pain and sleep-deprivation and weariness, Adrian sits down to watch her, and smiles.