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FIC: Salty/Sweet

Title: Salty/Sweet
Fandom: Watchmen
Characters/Pairings: Z!Rorschach, Dan
Date Written: 2010
Summary: Simple needs are often the hardest to satisfy, or: Bacon Cupcakes FTW.
Rating/Warnings: PG. Fluff and Rorschach being a slob.
Notes: Written for the Rorschach Birthday thread on KM. Spring 1976.


“So,” Daniel says one night, just as the last punch is thrown, the last heavy thump of a body hitting the alley floor echoes. It’s been a long night already, this new gang getting antsy to prove their turf, and Rorschach has the feeling it’s about to get longer.

He’s right. “When’s your birthday?” Daniel asks, as innocent as if he’d just asked Rorschach’s favorite color.

"February 30th," Rorschach says, without missing a beat.

Daniel pauses, starts to grin at his easy win - then it sinks in, and he sighs. "Okay. Funny. Got a real answer in there too?"

A grunt, as he cuffs the gang’s impromptu leader to the strut of a chain-link fence. The kid’s only been in charge of the pack for a few hours at most, since they chained up its original leader earlier in the night. The grunt is about all Rorschach’s willing to offer.

“Come on, man, everything else we've been through, I feel bad for not knowing…”

Rorschach just shoves his hands in his pockets and walks on ahead. They have real work to get done, and he’s found that when Daniel gets nosy and insistent like this, ignoring him flat-out works best.


Two fights later and the sky’s starting to pink up around the edges, just over the tops of the lowest roofs in the skyline. Daniel sighs, exasperated. “You’re seriously not going to tell me?”

Rorschach glances up, watches the dawn light start to boil away night’s starlight-eating clouds. The mornings are starting to turn warmer already, chase off the chill before they even reach the brownstone. Soon enough he won’t have any excuses for letting Daniel’s heat lull him to his usual nightmare-strewn sleep, and the thought leaves him feeling hollow.

“…birthdays are only of use to the living,” he mumbles.

“Oh no,” Dan says, rounding on him, but it isn’t really anger; just the annoyance of someone who’s dealt with a bad dog’s bad tricks too many times. “Don’t start up with that again.”

“Why not?” and he shouldn’t be doing this, he shouldn’t, but the warm morning has him feeling foul and prickly. “Only purpose is to obligate people into offering gifts and well wishes they otherwise never would. Better to be honest.”

“What does that have to do with–”

“If you had to get me something tomorrow, would you know what to get?”

A long silence, surreal and broken by the squeaking wheels of a pretzel cart pushing past them to set up on the corner. “…man, is it tomorrow?”

Rorschach shakes his head. “Irrelevant. Would you know what to get?”

Daniel takes just long enough to not reply, and Rorschach huffs a laugh under his mask. “Exactly. Dead have no needs,” he says, already feeling the empty chill of the guest room, too much space around him, too still in the way it refuses to breathe like the rest of the house does. “No point in… making an occasion.”

A careful moment, and Rorschach can feel Daniel studying him through the goggles. “I’m not sure about that,” he finally says, then turns to head back toward the ship, cape spinning out behind him.

The gesture’s laughably dramatic, the words more so, but Rorschach still feels a little chastised for the obvious lie as he climbs into the hatch behind him. Not nearly enough to admit that yes, it actually is tomorrow, but enough that the ride back and settling in for the morning is conducted in silence.


He pulls himself out of Daniel’s bed early, hours early, and stumbles downstairs to his own room. He’d woken to sun beating through the amplifying glass like the heat of high summer, more than just dew burned away under its glare, and he figures he’d better get used to this.

He bundles the blankets around himself, frets into the pillowcase at his weakness. Tries to get back to sleep.


He wakes up to the smell of baking and the greasy scent of breakfast as he remembers it from Charleton, something heavy and salty in the mix that he hasn’t come across since. The two smells don’t conventionally occur together but there’s something appealing in the way they intertwine, and he hauls himself up, staggers to the kitchen.

The sight that meets him stops him cold.

There’s flour spattered over every surface. The oven hangs open, belching heat into the room. A greasy pan on the range, the fat still in it boiling off into thick black smoke because the burner’s been left on; and Daniel, juggling a muffin pan and a bowl of icing, some of it streaked onto his face, some into his hair.

No, not a muffin pan. A cupcake pan.

Rorschach isn’t a cook. He can make toast, sometimes, and he can usually manage to prepare a bowl of cold cereal without setting fire to the house. But something in this chaos still strikes him as off.

“Oh, uh,” Daniel says, obviously surprised by his sudden appearance. “Thought you’d be asleep a few more…” he glances at the clock over the counter, and checks what he was about to say. “Oh, actually, I guess I thought I’d be done by now. Shit, man, I’m sorry.”

“…what,” is all Rorschach can manage.

“I mean, I don’t know if it’s actually your birthday, but you wouldn’t say, and I figured today was as good as any…”

Rorschach just stares, insensate. The smell is identifiable now: some kind of smoked pork. In Daniel’s kitchen. He doesn’t–

Daniel hunches over the tray, blocking it from Rorschach’s view, but he can tell by the motion of his arm that he’s slathering frosting onto one of the miniature cakes. When he turns around, there’s both a lit candle and a huge chunk of smoked meat stuck comically into the frosting. “Um,” he says, unsure. “Bacon cupcake? Happy birthday?”

Rorschach takes it from him, gingerly. “…bacon cupcake.”

“Yeah, it’s… it’s a real recipe, there’s maple syrup in them too, I didn’t just shove–”

“Yelled at me for meat waffles.”

“Well, yeah, because you made a huge mess and…” Daniel trails off, taking in the state of the kitchen. Sighs, mightily. “Oh hell, Rorschach. Can’t you just enjoy your cupcake?”

Rorschach eyes him from under the sleep-mussed fringe of red – makes a dramatic show of taking a normal volume of breath, and blows out the candle.

The cupcakes, it turns out, are delicious.


“Thought you couldn’t have bacon,” he says, six of them later, feeling strangely pleased with the way he can actually taste more than just flesh and sugar in them. It’s a rare thing these days, and it feels like an indulgence.

Daniel’s peeling the paper cup off of his third, trying to catch the crumbs before they fall. “Well, you know. On the wagon, off the wagon. I’ve never been that good about keeping up with those things. I mean, you eat meat on Fridays, aren’t you not supposed to do that either?”

“Mf,” Rorschach says around a mouthful of frosting. Swallows. “Point taken.”

“So what was all that,” Dan starts, setting half the cake aside; his voice is smug. “About not needing anything?”

“Wouldn’t call bacon cupcakes a deep and compelling need, Daniel.”

Daniel just laughs then, and sits back, and watches him finish off the last of the batch with something like contentment on his face.


That morning, another patrol put behind them, Rorschach roots through the refrigerator for what’s left of the bacon, chews it cold over the sink. It’s an even warmer morning than yesterday and it’s undeniable at this point: there’s enough heat lingering in the house for him to survive on his own, and he plans on doing exactly that, leaving all the greasy crumbs to stick to the walls of the sink and padding off toward the guest room. He’s not expecting charity. Daniel’s already discharged his responsibility, several times over.

He’s still stopped in the hallway by a hand snagging his wrist – eyes imploring in the dark, wordless.

“It’s warm enough,” he says, and the words sound weak even to his ears. “Don’t need…”

“You didn’t need the cupcakes either,” Daniel says, and those eyes are softer now, almost laughing in the dawn half-light. There’s a tug on his wrist, toward the staircase, and he understands: it’s not always just about needs.

“C’mon,” Daniel says, and he wants to, so he does.


It’s spring now, heat unfolding with the season as the world staggers back to life, and he doesn’t quite know what to make of it when Daniel’s arms only go tighter around him with every passing day, holding onto him like he might evaporate along with the morning mist. He doesn’t know what to make of it but he knows one thing that it is: a gift, and one he should be grateful for.

And even as March rolls on into April and everything starts to change, all his contexts and meanings shifting, leaving him confused and stranded and reaching and yearning, plunging his concept of vulnerability deeper and closer than he knew it could go – this, here, will always be a gift.





( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 7th, 2010 05:55 pm (UTC)
So cute! Bacon cupcakes, what a brilliant idea, and the bit about birthdays being for the living is so bittersweet and sad. I love it!
Apr. 7th, 2010 07:09 pm (UTC)
He doesn't actually think 'lol no birthdays because i'm dead', he was just in a bad mood and pushing dan's buttons. XD which resulted in bacon cupcakes, so he should do it more often.

Apr. 7th, 2010 07:42 pm (UTC)
I feel kind of disgusting for it, but oh my GOD those cupcakes sound so good. And good for Dan, seeing right through Rorschach's prickles.
Apr. 10th, 2010 07:17 pm (UTC)
He's gotten very good at seeing through the crap, I think it has to do with having seen him with his guard down; he knows what to look for.

Also, I have heard the cupcakes are AMAZING. Go make them, and report back. :9
Apr. 7th, 2010 11:09 pm (UTC)
Awwwwww~! So cute. And also gross. Bacon cupcakes? *shudder*
Apr. 10th, 2010 07:19 pm (UTC)
Why not? Bacon and maple syrup go together great, so I think they'd work. :D

Apr. 8th, 2010 04:15 am (UTC)
AWWWWW! *squuuueeeeee* That's so damn cute my toes are curling! It's just makes me so damn happy when I see you update! GOD I LOVE YOU! And Ror/Dan...so CUTE!
Apr. 10th, 2010 07:22 pm (UTC)
'cute' is not a word I usually would use for them, but they are capable of it on occasion. :D

(Deleted comment)
Apr. 10th, 2010 07:23 pm (UTC)
Apr. 8th, 2010 05:58 pm (UTC)
I love Dan pulling Rorschach back to his bed. And that cupcakes made Ror more amenable to it :D

Rorschach isn’t a cook. He can make toast, sometimes, and he can usually manage to prepare a bowl of cold cereal without setting fire to the house. But something in this chaos still strikes him as off.

Everything about this paragraph made me lol.
Apr. 10th, 2010 07:25 pm (UTC)
I think Dan knew that was the issue all along, or figured it out somewhere along the line. The cupcakes were just a distraction :D

And oh man. I know it's only fanon that Rorschach's so terrible at cooking but I love it, I love it so much. :3

Apr. 11th, 2010 08:22 pm (UTC)

This was pure love. Awwww. <3
Apr. 11th, 2010 11:20 pm (UTC)

Thanks <3
Apr. 30th, 2010 10:34 pm (UTC)
I am cracking my shit up on the train and people are looking at me.

(Wait, bacon cupcakes are real?)
May. 3rd, 2010 03:42 pm (UTC)
Yes they totally are real. XD I haven't tried them yet, but I'm trying to goad other people into doing so and reporting back.
Jun. 26th, 2010 09:01 pm (UTC)
re: cold cereal
1. bowl of cereal mix
2. glass of milk
3. ?????

Daniel is srsly sweet and these guys aer srsly cute.
Jun. 27th, 2010 03:22 pm (UTC)
Re: cold cereal

Thanks :3
Jul. 21st, 2011 05:13 am (UTC)
The callback to meatwaffles, oh my god xD

Bacon cupcakes. I mean, I know they're real, but to even go looking for something of the kind? Dan, you're a genius.
( 19 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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