Characters/Pairings: Rorschach/Nite Owl
Date Written: 2010
Summary: Nite Owl and Rorschach discover that blood is a binding thing.
Notes: For Kink Bingo(prompt: 'bloodplay'), posted early just so I don't porn-bomb flists when I'm done. Not being crossposted until then.
They always knew they'd see each other's blood before they saw each other's faces.
It goes with the territory and it's amazing that it takes half a year to happen. They've just brought down their first real drug ring the night before(Good, Rorschach had said simply afterwards, word too mild for the snakebite viciousness of his tone, finally taking heads off the beast instead of just its arms), some startup syndicate looking to peddle acid and heroin in a neighborhood still tetering on the edge of decency, trying to hang on.
Last night, they were invincible. Tonight, Nite Owl crouches sideways against a wall, hand fisted into his costume, trying to tamp down his terror.
His gauntlet's not soaked through yet. That's a good sign.
"Nite Owl," the voice says, steady, sharp with the receding edges of anger. The kid with the knife is somewhere at their feet, and Nite Owl's never seen his partner beat someone into unconsciousness before. He's touched.
He's also losing his grip on the wall, and the voice sounds far away. That's not a good sign.
"Nite Owl," Rorschach repeats, irritation creeping in. He feels his hand lifted away from his side, enough time passing for a cursory inspection. A frustrated sigh, then, and that'll have to do in place of relief. "You're just shocky from the fight. It isn't bad."
Nite Owl blinks, tries to focus on the swirling blots filling his vision. Clenches and unclenches his fist. "No?"
"No." Fabric peels away, sticky, and his vision finally focuses back enough to look down. It's a narrow gash below his ribs, maybe four inches long and deep enough to bleed alarmingly well for someone who's never more than cut themselves slicing vegetables. Probably needs a few stitches – god, he hopes he remembers how to put them in, freshman year first aid course a fading memory – but he's not going to die from it.
The moment stretches, a little surreal, dilated by adrenaline and heartbeat-heavy. Somewhere nearby, the buzzing of a bad streetlight ballast; a very specific background detail, textured and clear, and that's how he knows he's not imagining it when Rorschach catches up one glove between his teeth and runs bare fingers over the wound, dragging through the still-pooling blood.
It's not a quick swipe, either, the pressure exact and warm against the skin, tracing a path through the sticky red that meanders and overlaps on itself. It's hypnotic, and Rorschach seems almost mesmerized, and that's a little scary. He can't quite process why.
The hand withdraws, long fingers scrubbing over the mask, leaving ragged red trails behind like warpaint and then the mask is rolling up, slow like the molasses time seems trapped in.
Nite Owl has just enough time to think sharp jaw, needs shaving, thin mouth and watch that mouth form his name like some grotesque endearment and then it's obscured again, the stubbly chin scraping his hip as something wet and warm and solid rolls against his side.
Tongue, he thinks, disconnected, disbelieving. He just licked you.
"Nite Owl," Rorschach growls into his skin again, and when he shakes himself, sits back on his heels, there's blood on his mouth and in his mouth and smearing the rolled edge of the mask.
He doesn't know you, doesn't know if that was safe, doesn't know anything about you,
Rorschach licks his lips, dazed looking, clearly not sure of what he's doing.
but he knows you now, doesn't he? DNA unraveled by touch, identity by taste, secrets by the warmth of iron on the skin. What's all the rest, compared to that?
"You should be more careful, Nite Owl," he finally says; stuffs the glove into his pocket, flips up the collar of his coat.
It's something about control, he thinks a few nights later, as he watches Rorschach direct one thug's attack into another, leave them both groaning and in need of medical attention, staining the alley floor. It's something about knowledge that runs deeper than names or faces, that drives boys to slice open their palms under the low summer sun and lovers to only ever open themselves further in the face of possession.
It's a terrifying intimacy.
Rorschach straddles his bare back, hands deft with the straight-razor he produced out of some hidden pocket, sure and steady. It sings in the overhead lights, and his entire back is a locus of pain and heat and almost-pleasure, throbbing dully in time with his heart. He has no idea where the next cut will land.
The cowl's still in place, to keep his identity in the shadows where it belongs, and he's bound by his wrists to the legs of one of his workbenches. For his own safety, Rorschach had insisted, but he'd tied the knots too tightly, like a penance.
Nite Owl moans into the floor, jerking his hips, and behind him, Rorschach growls.
"Not like that," he says, for probably the fifth time, though he's never explained what it actually is and his voice is edged in something desperate. "This isn't... not that. Stop doing that."
Not sexual, Rorschach insists, over and over, but even as he stills and nods Nite Owl can feel the hard-on against the small of his back, heavy and damp through Rorschach's pants. He considers calling him out as a liar, but then the edge alights again on his flank, traces painlessly for a moment before biting in, and through the haze of sensation that is injury-pain-soothing, fingers following the blade and drawing out patterns in the wetness that he can't see or understand, Nite Owl finds he's willing to grant Rorschach his delusions for now.
It's a kind of sensuality, he supposes later, but it touches him everywhere except where it's needed, leaves him with long nights of aching into his mattress with his wrists chafed raw, alone.
They fight over many things – it's by no means a perfect partnership and their outlooks clash more often than they align – but they fight the hardest over the Twilight Lady, useless circular arguments that go round and round, bright and sharp with edges.
For two months(two months of frustration, pain without release), it's an academic argument. Then it's not anymore, and when Rorschach peels his costume back one morning to find all the shallow, stinging welts she'd left in his skin the night before, he breathes low in his chest like fury and betrayal. Rough hands pull one of the injuries back open, skin bleeding a fresh trail between them.
"Mine," he growls, opening his mouth over the wound, and Nite Owl feels himself swell. Resists the urge to cup himself through the costume even when Rorschach bites a fresh wound over the old one, something like a sob caught in his throat.
"Yours," he mumbles a week later, while the man inside Rorschach's armor rocks against him, piercing him deeper than any blade. The thin hands are sticky on his thighs, both of them smeared in the spoils of another bad night, Nite Owl limping into the Nest with his uniform torn and stained and Rorschach's hand trembling on the small of his back.
The sheets will need changing, tomorrow. He can't bring himself to care.
"Yes," Rorschach growls, licking an errant smear from what's exposed of his face, groaning into his throat when Nite Owl clenches around him. "All of you. Everything."
But when Nite Owl tries to reach up to unfasten the cowl, Rorschach catches his hands and pins them to the mattress and rams into him hard enough to be a punishment. Nite Owl sees red against the white, groans long and low and knows only the singularity of a body laid open and bleeding and not-bleeding until Rorschach tenses and chokes–
And then there is, will always be, more than just blood between them.
It's a warm dawn, window open. He's very still, and the blade traces lightly over his body, a long wandering trail that ends high inside his thigh, moisture beading up harmlessly everywhere it touches. A mouth follows it then, like breadcrumbs, until he's hot and stinging all over and Rorschach's face is buried in his groin, mouthing him wetly, wallowing.
"Nite Owl," Rorschach says, perfunctory as always, and rubs his gloved thumb through the thin stream of red running down Nite Owl's face. Another careless fight, and his mask is illuminated from only one side, streetlight-yellow, shining in the dark. It could be just a fighter's concern for his injured partner, if they weren't standing so unbearably close.
And it's such a simple thing to pull that thumb into his mouth, catch it between teeth and tongue, taste his own blood all mixed up with the city grime and summer humidity and Rorschach's caught breath, theirs.