Date Written: 2010
Summary: Beauty is hard for Walter(and vice versa).
Notes: For Kink Bingo(prompt: 'vehicular'), posted early just so I don't porn-bomb flists when I'm done. Not being crossposted until then.
"Oh, damn," Nite Owl says, circling the Archimedes where it hovers a foot above the street, ignorant to its own condition. Still structurally intact – there's not much damage a couple punk kids could do to it in half an hour with anything short of an angle grinder – but covered in graffiti, layers and layers of spray paint without any of the usual artistry, just patchy bright colors and epitaphs.
Nite Owl's mouth is curved down into a despondent arch. Sentimental, Rorschach thinks, standing near the entry hatch. Always personifying the transport, treating it as an equal partner in their endeavors, wasting affection on its cold metal lines.
"Operational?" he finally asks, when Nite Owl stoops to actually rub the leather of his gauntlet over the stuff, like spit and polish will take this off.
"Well," and Nite Owl straightens dramatically. "It would be, if they hadn't also blacked out his eyes."
Rorschach hadn't noticed that, perhaps because the ship is dark inside when they're not in it and a cursory glance hadn't revealed anything out of the ordinary. He moves to the front now, running a flattened palm over the glass and yes, it's rough and matte under his hand, black for more than just lack of illumination. "Can we wash it off?"
Nite Owl laughs, a bark of noise that's barely any humor and more than a little frustration. "If you have a power washer in your pocket, sure. Man, I don't think even a carwash could handle this, and that's assuming they'd let us in with it."
"Too big," Rorschach says, surveying the curve of the hull. "Wouldn't fit."
"Yeah, I wasn't seriously..."
"Should be taking it seriously. Can't exactly leave it here all night."
He doesn't mean to snap at Nite Owl, he doesn't, but it seems to do the trick, and he sobers, nods resolutely. Reaches for the hatch control at his belt. "Yeah. Okay. Get in."
Rorschach hesitates, glances sidelong at Nite Owl; his goggles obscure, giving away nothing. "Intend to fly it blind?"
"No, just... get in, okay? I've got contingencies for this."
"Contingencies for windshield covered in spraypaint."
"Not... exactly." Dan presses a few more buttons, then waves his hand again, a herding gesture. Rorschach prickles. "Just go on, trust me."
An hour later they sit, shoulder to shoulder, pressed narrowly together on the highest, flattest part of the Owlship's roof, feeling its gentle mechanical vibration hum in tune with the city below and the sky above. Nearby, the relocated control column, and Daniel can fly the ship from up here but it's too windy tonight to have done much besides take it up and park it– round hulled and coated for radar invisibility, it's an unpleasant surface to try to keep footing on. They could easily go inside, make some coffee, pass this time in some semblance of dignity until the wind dies down.
Instead, they stay here, watching their city twist and spin and dance and sleep from above, perched on the ship's back, all-seeing.
Viewing the sky unobscured by the distorting curve of glass reminds Rorschach of paintings he's seen, stars smearing together into brilliant swirls, illuminating ancient spires and the whole world's secrets, hidden places defined only by the way light does not reach them.
(Daniel, cowl back, hair curling into shining whorls and eyes lit like starfire like he belongs here in the sky, in flight, always–)
Beauty is hard for Walter, which makes it inconvenient for Rorschach, plucking at depths he doesn't understand the purpose of. This is, he thinks, how his hand has come to be on Daniel's chin, hard and indelicate, turning it towards him and slightly to one side so that the frames of his goggles luminesce in the ship's running lights.
"Yeah?" Daniel asks, expression guarded; he's been so careful since the tension between them recognized itself, weeks or a lifetime ago. But there is nothing careful about the rest of this, teetering on a pinhead at gravity's whim.
There is nothing careful about their lives.
Rorschach grunts something inarticulate, rubs his thumb heavily up over the corner of Daniel's mouth, pressing there and gasping a breath when Daniel allows it in, lips closing wetly around the knuckle.
His eyes unfocus past Daniel's shoulder for a stretch; when Daniel leans in to kiss him he allows it, hot and hungry through the mask. One last layer between them, for all the good it does.
Then he's leaning into Daniel's space, overextending Daniel's precarious equilibrium, until he's leaned back against the steering column and off-balance enough for Rorschach to snatch up both of his wrists, effortless.
He breaks away, presses Daniel's hands to the branches of the column, over his head. Closes his fingers around them. "Don't let go."
"What are you–"
"If we insist on being up here," Rorschach says, and he can hear the humor in his voice, for once isn't disgusted by the frivolity of it, "must be anchored. Don't let go."
Daniel nods, swallowing past a lump in his throat.
He lets his hands drag down Daniel's solid, corded arms as he leans back; across his chest; palms heavy and dragging over his hips. Daniel strains under the touch, trying to lift himself into it without losing his grip, muscle bunching under the spandex in beautiful rippling waves.
He's never touched his partner like this, with this heady, directed intent. They've been hovering right on the edge of it, caught up in the occasional confused fumble, but neither has ever been brave enough to reach out and take what words had offered.
Now Rorschach finds that bravery, rocking back on his heels to just see, to look this creature that will damn him to the depths square in the face. Watch him squirm against the steering column and the metal hull and the miles and miles of skyline.
Because this is Daniel's place and his domain, backdropped by the glittering firmament of stars, and he wants to see Daniel fly.
He reaches down, cups his hand around Daniel through the uniform, squeezes him sharply and it's like watching a bow strung, a beautiful hard arch from hips to shoulders to hands.
"Oh," he says, voice shuddery. His hands twitch on the column. "God. Let me--"
Rorschach leans in, caging him against the hull, and the side of Daniel's neck tastes like sweat and the sky. "You'll fall off."
"Jesus, Rorschach, I think I can manage to–"
Rorschach bites down on his shoulder, hard through the fabric. Daniel whimpers, bucks– scrabbles with his heels against the metal as he starts to slide.
"Okay," he says, a tight laughter bubbling up as one heel finally catches a seam. "Okay, I, uh, I concede the point."
"Have handcuffs," Rorschach mutters, letting the implications drag out, "if you don't think you can hold on." His hands feel heavy when they settle on Daniel's hips, dragging him back up centered with the column, stable ground. From there it's a simple thing to just straddle his thighs, extend the cage to four points, pen him in.
Against his knees, heavy machinery vibration, engines growling away on idle hover.
Against his chapped, split lips, Daniel swallowing tightly, whimpering into the contact, and his hips lift again– a slow, steady grind upwards this time, against Rorschach's weight.
Rorschach drops his head to Daniel's shoulder, a sharp breath pulled against the mask.
"I can hold on." Daniel bucks upward again, and Rorschach can feel his heat and hardness through the uniform, has a chillingly acute awareness of the fact that Daniel can feel his. Layers and layers of fabric between and still they may as well be naked. Rorschach shudders.
"Can you?" Daniel asks, actual concern woven into the tease.
Of course he can. Ridiculous question. "Not the one who almost slid off," he says, "twice."
Daniel laughs, the sound schooled into something dark and unfamiliar, before it's cut off by a gasp; Rorschach is rocking against him now, trying to ignore how much the same they are, pressed together like this.
"Ohh, oh man. That's..." Good. Daniel bites his lip. "The second time wasn't my fault."
His arms are like pillars, taking his weight as the rest of him falls into the same rutting motions they sometimes see in violent silhouette, in alleys and through broken windows, the squalid depravity of fornicators and whores and rapists, claiming, despoiling–
"I mean," Daniel mutters between one groan and the next. "you were being more than a little distracting there, come on."
–the utter degeneracy of those who allow themselves to be taken in filth and in despair, and there are layers between them but the body under him is still arching into his, wet warmth between its thighs and a tremor in its bones–
"Anyway, I didn't ask to... ah, fuck. To have Archie vandalized, it's not like I..."
Under his body, Daniel moans and twists against his own grip and babbles, voice slipping off into a metered cadence of noise. Beneath them both, the ship hums, is calm.
They are above these things; so far up that he doubts he could see them from here.
"Shut up, Daniel," Rorschach growls, and leans hard and slow against him, pressing into the restrictive slide of fabric, dragging a low and ragged noise from Daniel by inches. It sounds like freefall arrested, like the sudden spread of wings, and when the spasm shudders out between them it is not a surprise. Daniel sags back against the steering column, dazed and content, breathing hard.
Rorschach almost stops then, almost backs off, but then Daniel's taken one hand from the column and wound it around his back, fingers digging in around the belt, encouraging him to keep up the rhythm.
It doesn't exactly feel like flying, when he curls forward over Daniel's chest moments later, comes into his costume, sickening warmth; body shaking like he's been shot or stabbed, like it's in shock. It doesn't feel like freedom from gravity, but it does feel like freedom from something, some other bond, just as invisible and unacknowledged.
The arm around his back doesn't release him for a long time.