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FIC: Noise Floor (Adult Content Warning)

Title: Noise Floor
Fandom: Watchmen
Characters/Pairings: Rorschach/Dan
Date Written: 2011
Summary: Drown yourself out in enough noise and it's hard to hear the signal. Where 'noise' is Rorschach's power of denial and 'signal' is, of course, random sex in a subway tunnel.
Rating/Warnings: R, I think. Yeah. No one's pants come off, anyway.
Notes:  For kinkmeme, as usual - Roughhousing leads to frottage that Rorschach utterly denies having happened. Wow, I wrote this one a long time ago, it kinda slipped through the cracks.

*

The city is quiet again, tonight. There are nights when it is truly silent, in that holding-its-breath way that makes Nite Owl suspicious and Rorschach ready for a punch to the teeth that always comes—hiding something, and finding that something out is a game all its own—but this is just… quiet. Slow. The sun, when it peeks just over the watery horizon, finds them with only a handful of collars to their name and an excess of energy and nowhere left to spend it, and the streets are already going pink and gold, coffee stands starting to ratchet up their shutters to serve the commuters and cab drivers and first-shift cops. This is no longer their place.

Nite Owl glances sideways at his partner, the glare of sunrise momentarily blinding him to everything but the silhouette, and annoyance prickles. It's been like this for a week, long and ponderous nights, giving them both ample free time to pick and poke at each other's few remaining nerves. It's a pastime both have taken to with unhealthy enthusiasm, and even if it's been mostly innocuous stuff—Dan's politics, Rorschach's choice of laundromat—he can still see the fists clenching and unclenching through the white-out of sunrise. There's a subway entrance just beyond Rorschach, beckoning.

He sighs. As usual, they will take their frustrations underground.

*

All he does is roll his shoulders back, give his arms a stretch behind him that Rorschach apparently deems too luxurious. The brick wall meets his face suddenly, rough and cold.

Lightning quick, Dan's battle instincts assess the situation—arm wrenched behind his back at exactly the wrong angle to either break the grip or twist away. Motion forward blocked, motion backward blocked, motion to either side likely to result in a dislocated shoulder. Not much room to plant his feet. He could swing backward with his free arm, but it's likely to be ineffectual.

"Too many easy nights," Rorschach growls into his ear, but the anger doesn't sound genuine. More like frustration excusing itself as righteousness, which would be about par for the course. "Exercising your tongue and nothing else. Losing your edge, going soft."

Defensiveness rises and subsides, because the thing is: he's right. Dan still hasn't found an acceptable escape strategy and if this were a real attack, he might be in some trouble. As it is, it's all he can do to not squirm against the brick like some grade-school kid who's never been in a fight. "Just me?" he asks, voice tight, deflecting, as he tries to work out some leverage. "Nights have been easy on both of us."

A grunt, sounding just as constricted. "Have my ways," and he shifts his grip, twisting Dan's arm just a touch further, right up against the edge of pain. Dan bites his lip, tries to relax the joint as much as he can. "to compensate for lack of challenge."

Gym, Dan thinks, boxing or wrestling maybe, but he knows Rorschach has no real financial solvency from the way the man scavenges at his pantry, could never afford a membership. Picks fights at the Y, maybe.

"Not even going to fight back," Rorschach mutters, sounding disgusted. It isn't a question.

Somewhere, water dripping. Light ballasts, sputtering. The electric hum of the third rail, down in the gulley of the tracks, and Dan smiles under the goggles; leaned as close as he is, Rorschach must be able to see his expression, see the shift.

"No," he says, something like that electricity buzzing in his voice. The nights have been too easy. "I wouldn't want to hurt you."

That's all it takes.

Another half inch of twist and there it is, there's the pain, along with the unexpected weight of a full-body pin, Rorschach a shock of heat in the damp air even through all the layers of fabric. "Try," he growls, something wavering in the lowest registers like a plea.

And because Dan is, always has been, stronger than Rorschach—maybe not as quick or tactical, but the raw power is there—it's nothing to lift one foot against the wall, shove back hard.

Caught in the unexpected move, they both topple backwards. There's only three perilously narrow feet of concrete before it drops off to the tracks, and the awareness of this is probably what forces Rorschach to relinquish his grip, fighting for balance on the last few inches of footing. Dan spins, snatches him by the collar of his coat, pulls him back in from the edge to safer ground—then drops them both, face to face and Rorschach flat on his back, pinned. Contact in more places than is usually comfortable or discreet, but right now he doesn't care. Let the bastard say something about it.

Rorschach doesn't say anything; just stares up through the blots. Dan would like to pretend there's fury in them, that he's broken through his partner's considerable composure, but really they're only shapes and there's nothing to be read from them. One ankle rolls under his shin, looking for an opening.

Hell, Dan thinks, Why not,, and leans to the other side under the pretext of resettling himself, takes his weight off that ankle for just a split second. If he doesn't give the guy an opening this stops here—good at underdog tactics as Rorschach is, the size difference is probably too much to overcome otherwise—and for some reason he can't or isn't willing to pin down, push into the light where its nature is unmistakable, Dan doesn't want that to happen.

Rorschach obliges him.

It's a fast motion, almost too fast to track, visually or otherwise. A foot hooking around his knee, he feels that. Then he's being rolled off, motion inexorable; Rorschach is out from under, in a three-point crouch a few feet away.

The ink doesn't look like it's grinning, can't look like it's grinning, but there is a pull in the latex just there—

Dan's laughing before he even knows why—it's not that anything is particularly funny, in the usual sense—just a pressure release, mindless. Then Rorschach has pounced, pinned his shoulders to the concrete and Dan isn't even interested in fighting anymore, but when he takes in their positioning, he can't keep his smart mouth closed.

"That's, uh," he says, grinning in a way even he can tell is stupid, nodding to where Rorschach's straddling one armored thigh. "A little suggestive there, buddy. Got something you need to tell me?"

A low growl, reverberating in the empty tunnel, underlined by that electric hum.

"I mean, I know I've got great legs, but—"

"Daniel," Rorschach hisses, furious and... what else? Christ, is he amused? "Been meaning to upgrade your uniform, yes?"

And he doesn't even know what Rorschach means until the knee between both of his nudges in threateningly and OH, that upgrade. The cup he never got around to adding. Shit.

"Could... motivate you, to do so sooner rather than later," his partner growls. "If you don't start taking this seriously."

Dan, incredibly, doesn't start taking it seriously. Instead, he just grins, twists a little—taps his trapped knee against the inside of Rorschach's own leg, a teasing reminder of their proximity. "As you have me at swordpoint," he pronounces, dramatic, a little laughingly, "So too do I have you. Your move."

Rorschach doesn't move, for a long moment. If Dan didn't know any better, he'd say he wasn't even breathing, that the threat and the implications and the closeness and maybe even the dawn itself had turned him to stone. Then he grumbles to himself, picks up the threatening knee and relocates it to the concrete on the other side, sits down straight into Dan's gut with no preamble. Lands hard.

Dan stops laughing, the breath caught and forced out of him by the impact.

"Terrible person," Rorschach grouses. "Absolutely intolerable."

"I know," Dan coughs, trying to breathe around the weight.

"Depraved."

"I know."

"Should get a new partner," Rorschach says, leaning close.

Dan coughs again, the shift in weight forcing his breath into a choppy sigh. "...you won't."

And with that, it's a trivial thing to just knock Rorschach off balance, roll him onto his back again and let the momentum work to the smaller man's advantage, keep the motion going. The tension has changed, though; it's a different kind of aggression that keeps them fighting for dominance now, scrabbling at the concrete for leverage, for the right opening to work against gravity and roll around to the top again.

It's fun, actually, or at least more fun than arguing with the snarky bastard. Dan could do this forever.

Until he finds himself rolled against the wall of the tunnel, all his inertia arrested, Rorschach hovering over him. Hands fist in his cape, twisting until there's no slack, and the light straight above them blanks out Rorschach's figure just as thoroughly as the rising sun had.

Dan could throw him off, easily. He doesn't. Something is different, now, his heart beating in his throat and between his legs. He holds his breath.

The shift is miniscule, just a slight sliding-back of Rorschach's knees between his own, lowering the tight, narrow body just until there's one more point of contact than there had been. It could be an accident. It could just as easily be a question.

The answer: Dan's heels dug in against the concrete for purchase, and enough of a lift in his hips to feel all the ways in which he is absolutely not the only one hard, here. Jesus.

Guess you did have something to tell me, Dan almost says, or maybe Is that a grappling gun in... Just something humorous, something to diffuse the deadly serious way Rorschach's jaw is set under the mask as he draws himself forward in a slow, hard drag. But the words don't want to form and for once, Dan trusts his better judgment, keeps his mouth shut.

It's slow, deliberate. Back, then forward again, and Dan again rises to meet him, a painful arc that pulls up and then dissolves under the tug of gravity and the weight of the man over him, on his shoulders, across his hips.

He exhales sharply, the very last of the breath trying to twist itself into a moan. He doesn't let it, but Rorschach still pauses, looks at him accusingly.

Okay. No noise. It's a rackety subway tunnel in a pathway barred from pedestrians, but okay.

After a moment of stillness, the heat where Rorschach is pressed against him growing unbearable, Dan bites his lip almost hard enough to draw blood. Rorschach nods to himself, seems somehow pleased by the gesture, and starts moving again, as steady as before but with more force, more friction; a hot, rough slide with no concession to comfort. And maybe it's a good thing that Rorschach's cast in such stark shadow, because Dan has a feeling that unmoving, unreadable face would be doing more to creep him out than turn him on right now. He imagines it staring, under the mask, just staring and staring as the body attached to it grinds out both their frustrations in a filthy tunnel. He imagines the mask itself utterly composed, betraying nothing.

His eyes flick to the chronometer in the corner of his goggles' display. 6:52 AM. The L will be along any minute, but they travel so quickly, and he can't remember ever being able to make out anything clearly from a train window, and god, he can't tell Rorschach to stop now.

He can't tell him to stop because he never told him to start, and he knows he could say Rorschach, what the fuck, and this would halt immediately, but as long as he doesn't draw attention to it—

Nothing is happening, Rorschach's posture and bearing say, even as he bucks too sharply against Dan's hips, driving forward as if he were not barred by probably seven layers of clothing, as if they were actually...

Nothing. Dan rolls his head back against the concrete, hands digging into the sides of Rorschach's coat. The hum from below is picking up in pitch, and far away, he can hear a rumbling. Nothing.

Nothing is—

Rorschach's hands are shaking where they clutch at his shoulders, at fistfuls of cape. Nothing.

Dan can feel a dampness between them, sweat or something else, cool in the chill air. Nothing.

Light, and noise, bouncing and rattling up the tunnel like a cacophony of iron and—

Rorschach arching over him, every inch of his frame pulled taut and maybe he makes a sound but it's lost and—

For just a second, illumination, the glare impossible for shadows to hide in and Rorschach's mask is a riot of motion, ink swimming wildly in and out of contortions and stretched over the outline of an open mouth, open around some drowned-out moan or whine or acknowledgement of what this is even though nothing is happening and—

—and the train is past, the vacuum it leaves like the thickness in his throat when, as a child, he'd known he was about to cry.

Dan feels his own orgasm hit on the tail of that pressure almost like an afterthought, a coda. He closes his eyes, breathes through his nose, rides it out. By the time he opens them again, Rorschach is already hovering over him, leaned against the wall. He fusses with his coat, frustrated.

It's a precarious thing, getting to his feet, and not just because his balance is shot.

As before, he takes stock. They're both filthy, and his cape is the worst of it. Rorschach's coat will cover up his... circumstances. Dan will have to use his cape or walk awkwardly, or both.

"Leave it," he says, halfway to delirious, batting at the air near Rorschach's hands. "Can't tell."

A long, low glare, softened around the edges, and maybe he's imagining that part. Or maybe he isn't.

"Apologies," Rorschach finally manages, something sounding caught. "For... roughhousing. Very unprofessional behavior, could have injured someone."

Dan laughs, runs both hands over his head, pushes his cowl back. He's sweaty and overheated, and Rorschach's seen his o-face, he can cope with seeing his fucking hair. Secret identities, his ass. "It's okay."

"Not acceptable—"

"No, really," Dan says, straightening away from the wall. "It's okay."

No reaction to the cowl hanging between his shoulder blades, and Dan figures it's because his eyes are still covered. Wonders, giddily, what would happen if he took the goggles off too.

"Look," he says instead, because Rorschach is still here and not flown off through the tunnels like a phantom, and that's better than he has the good sense to expect. "Whatever that was—"

"Just apologized."

"For the fighting, yeah. I mean the, uh..."

Rorschach tilts his head to the side, feigning confusion. It's too fast, rehearsed.

Dan takes a breath, runs his hand over his face. Down by the tracks, the rail is still buzzing; it's always live, even when there's nothing using it. It's always there.

He nods, decides to give Rorschach this one, just this once.

"Yeah, you're right," he says, reaching back to pull the cowl back up. "Don't know what I was thinking of."

Rorschach straightens his hat, his gloves, wrenches his coat's belt to one side. Treads off in the direction they were originally headed, like nothing out of the ordinary has just happened, and Dan feels a sudden flare of irritation—mirror-image of what he'd felt at dawn, just as irrepressible but with a different gut-feel, the usual Such an asshole with a little What the hell was that and Whatever it was, can we do it again mixed in—that he has absolutely no idea what to do with.

He only gives voice to one part of it, jogging to catch up. "You're an asshole, you know that?"

"Hmn," Rorschach says, hands finding his pockets. "You should find another partner, then."

"Yeah, that's not gonna happen." Dan's going for vaguely sadistic, knows it's probably coming across more goofily affectionate than anything. "You're stuck with me."

Rorschach rolls his shoulders under his coat. "Intolerable."

"Pretty much."

"...Daniel?"

Dan turns his head, acknowledging.

"Shouldn't unmask in public. Very improper."

And Dan reaches up, pinches the bridge of his nose, because no, he's not joking, and this is how it's going to be. Waterfront property in Egypt. He doesn't know what'll kill him first; the blueballs or Rorschach's fists.

"Okay," he just says, resigned. "Okay, buddy. I won't."

*


Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
sepulchre_angel
Mar. 20th, 2011 10:33 pm (UTC)
the dialogue at the end of this was, and continues to be hilarious to me. Sorry Dan XD
etherati
Mar. 22nd, 2011 02:57 pm (UTC)
Dan puts up with so much :( But yeah it's still pretty funny.

Thank you!
impunctuation
Apr. 20th, 2011 08:56 am (UTC)
i loved the roughhousing, really well done.
etherati
Jun. 29th, 2011 07:44 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
thingswithwings
Jun. 4th, 2011 03:23 pm (UTC)
haha, aw, poor Dan! This is somehow hot and painful and adorable all at the same time. Oh Rorschach/Repression, you are my OTP.
etherati
Jun. 29th, 2011 07:44 pm (UTC)
Man I think Rorschach/his repression kind of has to be your otp to be in this fandom. XD Thank you!
linalisan
Jun. 25th, 2011 02:57 am (UTC)
The whole roughhousing bit, where they're fighting because Ror implies they need the practice, it's more like a couple of little kids or puppies rolling about and tugging on ears or trying to get leverage. It's sweet, and endearing, and the way it transitions is natural.

(i.e: you did a good job)
etherati
Jun. 29th, 2011 07:43 pm (UTC)
Thanks haha, I always worry that the transitions might not work or might seem forced. And yes, they are super adorable when they play rough. XD
supercrook
Mar. 29th, 2012 06:07 pm (UTC)
I love the way you write these two! (And I also love totally-not-sexual sexual roughhousing, which this executes so well.)
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )