Date Written: 2010, at rum o’clock.
Summary: Dan is a hermaphroditic were-owl. There is drunken sex and consequences, and they have BABIES and it’s PRECIOUS and really walter always wanted to be a dad and now they can have true love forever with their owlbbs.
Rating/Warnings: R. Nonexplicit sex, nonexplicit egglaying, nonexplicit author intoxication.
Notes: KM fill for ‘egglaying’. Here’s the important bit though:
Because Zombieverse and Between the Brushstrokes are getting too involved and writing them is getting too stressful, and canonverse is depressing and stressful anyway, from now on I’m JUST going to write in the Wereowl/Owlbb AU. No more zombies, no more future dystopia, no more nothing, just all owlbbs, all the time. I want to give them a happy home and an easy time so that’s what I’m doing, starting today, 4/1/10.
EXTRA NOTE: Okay just to clarify, both the fic and the announcement above were an April Fools' joke. So no, none of the above(or below) is to be taken seriously.
It starts with the prickling itch of something trying to grow through his skin. The rough little pinpoints of brown come and go over the course of weeks but each time they return they manage a little farther, individual barbs starting to unfurl into what looks – really looks – like the beginnings of feathers.
He has an extra beer that night, before stumbling into bed to race dawn to unconsciousness.
The next night he notices his eyes yellowing under the mirrorlamps’ harsh light, not just the whites but the irises too, brown fading like old wheat left out to fallow. Jaundice, he thinks, but he’s too young for liver failure and he only drinks one – two beers a night. One or two.
Three last night.
Still, it doesn’t make sense, and he swallows against a lump in his throat that’s about half fear and half early-morning drymouth. Goes to douse both of them in strong coffee and hope that it’s enough.
The itching becomes unbearable in the next week. He’s scratching through the armor, and it’s doing no good at all, and Rorschach’s staring. That’s even worse because it’s not as if this bizarreness, whatever it is, has left his sense of reason alone, and every time Rorschach stands too close for too long Dan wants to scoop him up and secret him away and do horrible, wonderful things to him that they’d probably both never recover from. And, okay, maybe that’s not exactly new, but the intensity of the urge is, and it scares him.
“Daniel,” Rorschach says, snappish, once patrol’s over and they’re back in the nest. “Injured?”
Dan looks up, distracted, still digging at the Kevlar. “What?”
A hand comes to rest on his shoulder, and that he can feel right through the armor, god damn. “Seem to be in some discomfort. Are you injured?”
“No, I just… itch like hell, I don’t know what’s going on,” and it’s only halfway a lie. He knows what’s causing it but still doesn’t know what that is exactly and Rorschach’s so close and just, god.
“It’s under the armor,” he says, shifting back against the hand, and he can hear the suggestive tone in his own voice and it’s ludicrous but rational thought just isn’t making it through right now. “Can you maybe…?”
Rorschach makes a short sound, a breath. It sounds scandalized and conflicted, and all Dan can think as he reaches to unhook the clasps, hands just barely shaking, is good, good.
Careful fingers brush over the nubs of what does seem to be plumage, confusion in the touch, but it’s amazing the way each one pulls under the grazing fingers. They’re all the way down his back now, he can feel it. The hands pull away.
“No idea,” Dan says, leaning towards the lost contact. “Thought maybe I was imagining it, guess not. I think I need a drink, though.” There, nothing unusual in that, and he schools his voice carefully because the last thing he can deal with, now that he knows something freakish really is going on here and that it isn’t just some cracked-out hallucination, is to scare Rorschach away. “…can you stay for a bit?”
A considered pause, and then Rorschach nods. Follows him up the stairs like a man marching to the guillotine, and maybe that’s not far off.
His parents must have always known something was wrong with him, the way they had another son right after him and treated him as the firstborn, let Dan go off and watch his birds and play with his cardboard wings.
An old, old memory, or maybe a dream: a stirring of heavy feathers behind his parents’ bedroom door, there and gone before he could slip the lock and get inside.
Only his father, standing by the open window, guilt and regret and something too complicated for a child to understand on his face.
A drink turns into two, turns into three. More. He’s not the only one drinking.
Rorschach sits too close, for just a little too long.
There are no more questions after that night, no matter how bizarre it gets; just a silent, ironclad dedication that borders on baldfaced denial.
The feathers keep coming and going, waxing and waning with the moon’s crooked path through the sky. They’re prominent enough now that he can pick out golds and browns and a dusting of white, and he wonders where they go when they’re gone, the smooth skin unbroken and flawless in the sunlight. His tailbone aches constantly, and he realizes one night that it’s growing and receding with the feathers, something like a fan of them starting to form around the base. He wonders how long it will be before the wings start, or if his arms are standing in for them. He barely fits in his armor anymore, the rub of feathers pushed the wrong way unbearable.
A few weeks later he realizes that’s not the only way in which the uniform doesn’t fit.
“Gaining weight, Daniel,” Rorschach says as he watches him struggle into the armor, but it doesn’t feel like fat, all his muscle tone intact and his abdomen low and distended and a little lumpy under the layer of down.
He pokes and prods experimentally, eyebrows knit under the line of the cowl. “I don’t know, man. I don’t think…”
“Less take-out,” Rorschach prescribes acerbically, climbing into Archie’s hatch, dropping carelessly inside.
Dan stares at the shape of the ship for a moment, the yellow eyes and the etched-on feathers and the doorway breaching it, and wonders.
His brother and sister both took after his mother, he remembers. He only ever looked like his father, uncannily so, almost like he’d somehow lost half of his genetics somewhere along the way, been conjured from half a seed.
“Birds are beautiful,” his father had told him once when he was very young, a rare moment away from the rest of the family, when the pretenses could be dropped and the strange connection they had indulged. He’d held him in his lap, pointed out a mockingbird, an owl in a nearby tree, the arcing flight of a swallow through the dusk.
“Too beautiful,” he’d appended in a whisper, almost too quiet to hear.
It only gets worse, as time goes on. The armor’s useless now, and he’s had to improvise a bodypiece out of fabric to keep from crushing himself; something deep inside, instinctual, screams bloody murder at the idea of forcing the armor and taking his chances. On a more rational, intellectual level, he’s pretty terrified that it’s some kind of horrific tumor, filling his gut with golfballs made of teeth and hair and everything else foul he’s ever read about, ravaging his body with its malicious tendrils.
Because, of course, his physiology’s so normal otherwise – what with the tail and the feathers and the thickening of cartilage he can feel along the line of his nose and the way his eyes reflect gold in the moonlight. He might still look completely normal in the supermarket checkout line but he’s considering giving up the uniform entirely – just going out each night as the horrifying rampaging owlbeast he’s somehow turning into, and he knows perfectly well there’s nothing normal about any of this.
So really, who knows. Could be cancer, could be something he ate, could be alien eggpo-
“Fuck, god, what the fuck,” and nothing he’s said has made any sense for at least the last hour, but he’s hardly counting. Rorschach is sitting next to him on the bed; has thrown a sheet over him so he doesn’t have to watch whatever it is that’s going on down there and fuck, even Dan has no idea. They’d been halfway through planning their next move on the case, maps spread between them downstairs, when he’d suddenly felt his entire gut shift. Something moving inside, something tearing. He’d only even made it up here with his partner’s help; all he’d wanted to do was hunker down where he was and not move for a very long time.
911, he thinks. Ambulance, he thinks.
Outside the window, the moon’s high; he’s completely shifted now, feathers rumpled and dingy as he claws hooked fingernails into the sheets. Every time he thinks it’s over it starts again, a pressure that builds and builds, lower and lower, blossoming into a sharp spike of pain and an impulse to clench and bear down and then it’s gone, gone until the next time and god, when will it end and what the fuck is happening and
He came home crying one day, blackeye bruised and dirt in his hair. Had he been fighting?
Of course not.
“They said I was a girl,” he sobbed brokenly into his mother’s lap. “Big sissy girl, and, and pushed me down a lot.”
“Oh, honey,” she said, soothing. It was the first time she’d acted like he was her own child, like she cared. “Don’t listen to them, they don’t know what they’re talking about.”
But they had known, hadn’t they.
Rorschach’s hand is heavy on his brow – ungloved for the first time, and softer than he ever expected, brushing through the downy ridge of feathers there.
“People fear what they don’t understand,” his father had said, later, alone. It’d made so much more sense than his mother’s bland assurances. “Even when it’s in themselves. Don’t be like them. Some things are neither here nor there, and you need to not be afraid of that.”
He’d pushed his glasses back then, and sat up straighter, because he was Danny, he wasn’t some girl, he wasn’t, he wasn’t, but…
By morning he’s shifted back, is human again under that touch. It’s light but still present; then it disappears, leaves him squinting into the dawn.
Under the sheet with him, seven perfectly round, white eggs, larger than he’s ever seen but all he can think, mind numb and useless and thrown into academic mode out of pure self-defense, cross-reference retrieve spit-out, is Asio flammeus, Short-eared Owl. Four to seven per clutch, incubated for–
Then his brain throws an interrupt, forcefully, and he shoves his hand down between his legs, feels around. There’s nothing there that makes any sense with… with this.
He wonders what he would have found if he’d looked last night.
He wonders where Rorschach’s gone.
Three weeks later – and he’s barely left the warm nest of the bed except to eat, can’t explain why when that shadow ghosts across his doorway every few nights, waiting for him, impatient – he opens his eyes to find the shells starting to fall away in pieces.
Revealing tiny things, like some cross between human infants in miniature and the creature he’s been spending his nights as, brown-plumed and shockingly redheaded, and he’s seen far enough under the mask to know–
He gathers them against his chest, tries to keep them as warm as he can, and waits.
Rorschach’s staring, silent. It’s the kind of situation that would usually incur a ‘what the fuck’ pretty handily, but Rorschach doesn’t swear. He also supposedly doesn’t drink and doesn’t…
“What. Wh… how. What.”
Dan shifts against the headboard. Reaches out one finger, and pokes one of the little bastards right in its redheaded crown. They’ve proven more troublesome at three hours out of the shell than he would have expected. “Well, uhm. Remember that night, when I got you to have a few beers?”
“And you, uh. Seemed to have some problems figuring out what went where?”
“Daniel,” he said, rough and grating and hoarse. His weight was across Dan’s, between his legs, sprawled, and the alcohol’d done him no favors. “More, uh. More feathery than you were. Before.”
“God, it’s probably just the beer,” Dan said, arching up under him. This was what he’d been afraid of, all of it, the heat and the press and the possession, but he couldn’t find the fear anymore, just the need. “Just… come on, figure out what you’re doing, you’re killing me here.”
"Read about process in... books. Once. Inappropriate books. Did not read by choice, covers were deceptive, I…” he trailed off, shifting his hands, parting feathers as they go. “Seems... different than described.”
Dan shifted again, rocking up against the drink-sodden weight of his partner. “Oh, come on, jesus, it’s not rocket science. Just find a goddamned hole.”
And he was drunk too, and he’d never done this before, had no idea what it was supposed to feel like, so when he finally felt something solid and warm slip inside somewhere, he’d just moaned and bucked and ridden it out and…
Seven redheaded baby owlbeasts crawl over each other, scrabbling at the sheets, blinking yellow eyes up at him, at Rorschach.
“Uhm,” Dan says, at a loss for words. “Uhhh.”
More silence, in ever-increasing levels of discomfort.
(Further adventures of the owlbbs as written by another anon on KM: http://spam-monster.livejournal.com/3498.html?thread=9918122#t9918122)