?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Two Id-Fics: For Your Own Good / Liability

Okay, so, sometimes I write these things for KM, not serious fic, just... Id fic. Because the prompt made me go HNNGG WANNNNT and I had no literary shame that day. Strangely, not usually porn! In this case, H/C and UST abound. Not high works of literature, just food for the ever-hungry Id.

Title: For Your Own Good
Fandom: Watchmen
Characters/Pairings: Rorschach, Dan
Date Written: 2011
Summary: Dan has an accident; Rorschach saves him but thinks he's suicidal. And reacts accordingly.
Rating/Warnings: PG-13, a little triggery for Ror's thoughts on suicide.
Notes:  KM fill, from a prompt back on KM 1. Ollllld school.

*

It’s dark already when Rorschach puts his shoulder into the massive door of the warehouse, picks his way down the subway labyrinth toward the Owl’s Nest. He’s running late, something he is extremely conscious of as he walks, one measured step in front of the other. He is late and it bothers him because Daniel will probably not let it go, as many times as Rorschach’s chastised him for falling behind.

No. There is something wrong with being late tonight, anticipation like an electric tingle under his mask, but it’s more than just a worry over Daniel’s feeble attempts to assault his dignity. It’s more like—

The Nest is quiet when he steps into it.

“Nite Owl?” he asks; gets no response, thinks Kitchen.

He climbs the steps, trying not to hear the silence he’s leaving behind as accusatory. The door at the top is closed but not locked, and the room beyond it quiet as well. An empty coffee mug on the table, dregs cold and unappealing; a plate in the sink, discarded takeout carton in the trash. Bills and financial documents scattered on the table, and a few stamped letters ready for the morning’s mail, handwritten addresses, personal. Detritus. But no Daniel.

Search the rest of the house. Simple enough and an obvious next step, but instead Rorschach stands for just a moment longer, turning the handle of the mug towards himself, letting his hand settle on the rim. A hunch, he knows, is just the subconscious gathering details small enough to escape the conscious, using them to answer a question he hasn’t quite asked.

A shadow drifts up from the doorway, and he feels something terrifying unfold in his brain.

The mug spins out from under his grip and he’s gone, barreling down the steps back to the basement, lit by an unnameable urgency. He doesn’t even know what he’s looking for, running towards or away from, but—

But he finds it.

From the height of the stairs, he can see what he hadn’t seen from the low bowels of the basement: Nite Owl, in partial costume, hanging limp and lifeless from the tangle of cords connecting the Archimedes’s launch platform to the building’s power supply. His bare fingers are blue where they hang lax, and he sways sickeningly, as though there were a breeze. He must have still been struggling, when Rorschach came in, only he didn’t look up, why would he look up why didn’t he loo—

Rorschach makes a noise even he can’t recognize, something tearing his throat, and he takes the rest of the steps faster than he will remember.

There is a toppled ladder on the concrete nearby and he should have at least noticed that but he didn’t, and now he is dragging it over and climbing up to lay his hands on Nite Owl, to grip him around the calves and lift him up and away and whatever is around his throat isn’t wrapped, is only hooked there, because as soon as he’s lifted Daniel falls backwards out of the tangle.

Rorschach scrambles after him, grabbing hold and twisting them in midair so that he takes the brunt of the impact, all he can do to keep Daniel’s head from splitting on the concrete floor. For all the good it’ll do if he’s—

One hand shoved between the crook of jaw and neck, and Rorschach has to work hard to ignore the bruising, the furrow where the cord had cut deepest. There’s still a pulse, weak against his fingers. Rorschach feels something like heat move through him, hitting the brainstem like morphine.

A second later, Daniel shudders, draws in a shallow, painful breath. The way it drags makes Rorschach think of reluctance.

The pieces come together in his head: the kicked-over ladder, the nigh-unreachable height, the stack of letters, the halfway state of his uniform: Take off my cowl if they ever get me, he’d said one morbid night, moon bloody and high, I don’t want to die faceless—

Daniel keeps breathing, in and out, and Rorschach is suddenly so furious he can barely speak.

“How could you,” he hisses, drawing to his feet, stepping back and away lest he be tempted to take a swing or a kick. Daniel doesn’t answer; is still insensate, color coming back to his skin. The fury is there because Daniel is quitting, derelicting his duty, giving up on their city and the people in it. That Daniel simply retiring would not incite him to this level of blind rage is not something he’s willing to examine closely. He is simply a failure, weak, leaving his last goodbyes to the whim on the postal service and there hadn’t been a letter there for him, had there—

Then Daniel is rolling to his side to vomit sparsely on the concrete floor, body spasming. “What happened?” he manages after, voice croaky and full of horrified confusion.

“I don’t know.” Rorschach finds his voice is frighteningly level for the amount of anger he’s feeling. It’s a little like being in a fight. He crouches down to eye level with Daniel, still five feet or so away. “Why don’t you tell me.”

Daniel looks at him, face shocky and white. “I—”

“Why,” Rorschach cuts him off, continuing the sentence, “you decided to kill yourself.”

“What? I didn’t.” Daniel is wallowing in his cape, trying to get to his hands and knees. He just about manages it, then stays there for a moment, stabilizing. “It must have been an accident, I was working on the cabling...”

“Impulsive decision, then.” Rorschach nods to himself. If Daniel is going to act selfishly and childishly, then Rorschach will have to monitor him like one does a child. “Did not know your life had become so intolerable,” he adds, anger still simmering.

“It’s not, I—”

“Clearly so, if it only took the sight of the cables to induce you to put an end to it.”

A sharp coughing fit, preventing Daniel from answering. Rorschach lets him flounder, for now.

“Tested the strength of it, first?” he asks, leaning in closer; Daniel had rolled toward him, and between the two acts Rorschach is close enough to smell the bile on Daniel’s breath. Disgusting, weak. “Put your hands around it, felt the tension, made sure it would hold?”

No,” Daniel manages between coughs. “No, jesus, what the fuck, man.”

“Sloppy,” Rorschach says, snapping to his feet, crossing to where the ladder still stands. His eyes follow the lines of the legs, looking for a point of weakness. “Could have fallen, broken your neck. Much messier.”

“Rorschach,” Daniel says, and it’s his determined tone of voice, and Rorschach imagines that if he turned and looked Daniel would be fixing him with those raptor’s eyes that usually hide under the goggles. “I did. Not. Try to kill myself.”

A folding knife from his pocket, wedged under a pin just there and there—and the cheap ladder falls to two pieces, clattering together to the floor. That’s one threat disarmed; he will have to scour the house for others.

“Don’t believe you,” he says simply, pocketing the knife, and it will be a long night.

*

They can’t patrol. Rorschach’s laid down the law on that one—too many easy bullets to throw himself in front of—and while Dan would like to fight him on it, he really does feel like shit. And a night off is a rarity; he just wishes he didn’t have to spend it like this.

Rorschach is currently visible only from the waist down as he burrows under Dan’s sink in search of hazardous chemicals. Drano, bleach, CLR. Window cleaner, for fuck’s sake, and this is getting ridiculous.

Dan hunches over his mug of coffee, tries to ignore the clatter as a bottle of dishwashing soap is tossed to join the pile. “You going to clean my house while you’re at it?” he ventures, and it really is distressing how much he sounds like Rorschach right now.

“No.”

“Just going to throw them out, huh? That stuff costs money, you know.”

“Hrf. Can’t...” Rorschach backs out from the cabinet, uncapping an unmarked bottle to sniff at it. Unidentifiable, and even Dan doesn’t remember what that one is; he’s really dug deep. Rorschach shrugs, tosses it onto the pile. “Can’t take it with you.”

“For the last time—”

But Rorschach’s already moved on to the silverware drawer; fishing out a wash towel, he extracts every knife with a real edge on it and lays it crosswise over the towel.

“Okay, wait,” Dan says, schooling his voice into something less pathetic. “That set was my parents’, you’re not going to throw those away.”

Rorschach hesitates, sets the last knife into the towel. Folds it carefully around them, a neat bundle, and when he speaks it’s the first time anger, hot or cold, hasn’t been the prominent emotion. “...understandable,” he just says, and tucks the wrapped bundle into one of his innumerable inside pockets. “Will take good care of them.”

Dan just sighs, the sound rough and bubbly through his abused throat; lets his head sink into his arms.

Rorschach doesn’t move for a long time; even not looking, Dan would know if he did. He’s not as silent here as he is on the streets. Then, amazingly, he settles into the chair across from Dan, instead of moving on to dispose of the box of cookies Dan could theoretically choke himself on or the pillows in the living room he might try to smother himself with. Already his razors upstairs have no blades in them, and the emergency rope in the hall closet has been confiscated.

“I swear,” Dan says, muffled by his arm, “It was an accident.”

A long silence; his coffee’s going cold and Rorschach hasn’t touched his own.

“...want to believe that, Daniel.” There it is again: what Rorschach’s voice sounds like when the anger’s not there to mask the fear. It’s sharp and startling, like seeing a glimpse of something in the dawn that he’s sure isn’t there in the darkness or the day. Something forbidden. “Just don’t want to take any chances.”

“And I’m too wiped to fight you on it.”

“Not trying to take advantage, just...” Rorschach taps a gloved finger on the tabletop, and Dan glances up over the edge of his arm to watch the motion. It’s shakier than he would have expected.

“Could name twenty people,” Rorschach continues, “that we encountered just last night, who deserve to die more than you do.”

“No one deserves to die, man.”

A grunt of... something. Not agreement, but not disagreement, either. “Perhaps. But you least of all. You’re a good man, Daniel. The good you do should make you happy even if... the company does not.”

Dan turns his head sideways, fingers the rim of his mug. “Do good men lie to their friends?”

“...no.”

“I’m not unhappy,” and Dan makes an effort to straighten up, meet Rorschach’s masked gaze head-on. “with the company or otherwise. I’m not depressed. I’m honestly having a great time, or I was until tonight. When I slipped. And hurt myself. Accidentally.”

Rorschach nods. His other hand has joined the first on the table, and he looks like he wants to hide them inside each other.

“Thank you for getting me down. For saving my life.” A quirk of a smile, now that it seems he’s getting through. “It’s something I value.”

“Always.” Rorschach’s own voice is rougher than it should be, and it’s almost touching, until a metallic clatter tears the moment apart, knives sliding out of Rorschach’s coat and onto the floor.

A blinking moment of silence, and then Dan dissolves into helpless laughter, burying his face in his arms again.

“Not... not funny.” Rorschach keeps glancing between the scattered mess of blades and Dan’s apparent hysterical breakdown, clearly unsure which to attend to first. His own wounded pride is visible in the fan of ink across his cheeks. “Not funny, Daniel.”

Dan disagrees, and just goes on laughing.

“Saw you swinging there, thought you were dead,” Rorschach continues, quiet, and that is what stops him cold. “Thought you’d given up on us. On...” On me, but he can’t quite get it out.

A last hiccup of laughter; then Dan is reaching across the table to snag Rorschach’s arm by the sleeve. “Hey.”

Rorschach ignores him. “Didn’t understand why you couldn’t at least... know I’m not easy to talk to. Not very... soft. Did not ever mean to drive you to...”

“Hey,” Dan says again, tugging; the laughing fit seems to have shaken something free, and he sounds more like himself now. “You know me, right? I can’t ever shut up. All I do is talk.”

Rorschach doesn’t respond, just loosens the tension in his arm, allows it to be drawn across the table. His fingers curl in against air.

“Trust me,” Dan says, shifting his grip to fill that air with flesh and bone. “If I was anywhere near that upset, you’d hear about it. More than you’d want to.”

A short, sharp nod; no move to disengage his hand.

“Now,” Dan says, smiling, uncurling one finger to drag over the gloved palm. “Can I please have my drafting pens back?”

Rorschach huffs a breath, reaches into his coat with the other hand. Drops the sharp-ended pens, along with the safety razor inserts and other miscellanea, onto the table. “Most dangerous thing in your house,” he says, picking one up, thumbing the tip.

“How so?”

“Encourage you to work on the Archimedes,” Rorschach says, and the words are weighty. “Would keep them, prevent further maintenance until absolutely necessary, if you couldn’t just get new ones.”

“Yeah, they’ve got ‘em at Lee’s.” It’s a tease, but it’s gentle. “I’ll be more careful, okay?”

“Should have been more careful to start with. Was running late tonight, could have run later.”

“I know.”

“Horrible thing to find.”

“I know.”

Silence then, and the moment stretches just a bit too long, becomes uncomfortable. Dan releases Rorschach’s hand, reaches for his mug. Sips from it, and then grimaces. Only dregs left.

“Stuff’s always going cold,” he says, gathering Rorschach’s untouched mug up as well. “Fixed easily enough though, I guess. Want a fresh refill?”

Rorschach nods, and Dan navigates the spill of knives to get to the pot on the counter; it’s too late to start a patrol at this point, well past three in the morning, but there are other things in life worth staying awake for.

*

Title: Liability
Fandom: Watchmen
Characters/Pairings: Rorschach, Dan
Date Written: 2011
Summary: Rorschach claims to have no weakness. Someone proves him wrong by finding it.
Rating/Warnings: PG-13, some rough language.

*

"Not so fuckin' tough now, are ya?" the thug asks, last man standing but it doesn't matter, because his sudden advantage is undeniable. Ten feet away, Rorschach is a statue, frozen to the spot amongst the downed bodies, run through with a kind of violent vibration. The knife at Nite Owl's throat is very sharp and very real, and Nite Owl thinks Oh, shit, because this can only end one of two ways.

One, Rorschach will ignore the threat, and Nite Owl will find himself sliced ear to ear and maybe, maybe, have just enough time to see his captor beaten down before he dies. Two…

Well. Two involves Rorschach backing down, letting the man get away, and while it's certainly a possibility, Nite Owl knows exactly what the odds of that are. He braces himself for the slice.

It doesn't come. Nite Owl opens his eyes (when did he close them?) and Rorschach is still ten feet away, fists clenching and unclenching. An odd, strangled noise that Nite Owl has never heard before is twining around the three of them, and Rorschach's mask is swimming like murder and fury and vengeance denied.

"I'm always tellin' these guys," the man says, elbow still in Nite Owl's back, keeping him off balance against the knife, "'These masks ain't so scary', I say, 'you just gotta find the right leverage'. Idiots never listen, but look who's standin' next to the holy terror Rorschach and not getting' beat into the asphalt, shit." When the man laughs, the knife bites in through the cowl, and Nite Owl grits his teeth.

Rorschach takes a step forward. His voice is ragged and acidic, could eat through hardened steel. "You're making a mistake. Let him go. Now."

"What, and miss the look on your face when I drop him? Cause man, I gotta say, you may think you're wearin' a mask but that shit is not exactly hidden right now." Another laugh, vicious. "Can't wait to see what shapes you make when this fucker's bleedin' out at your feet."

Shit. Shit shit shit, because no, this is only going to end one way. Nite Owl isn't a hostage; he is a weapon, and suddenly just as furious as Rorschach must be because he will not be used to hurt his partner.

And hurting is definitely what’s happening; Rorschach flinches as if physically struck, and that’s apparently the funniest thing in the world, to listen to his captor. He's laughing, more than a little distracted, and Nite Owl feels the opening in the way the pressure on his back lessens for just a second.

A second is all he needs.

Something happens with the knife when he spins out from under the thug's grip, something dangerous, but it doesn't matter. All that matters is that they are face to face now, and nothing is stopping Nite Owl from cold-cocking him right in the face, dropping him to the pavement and Rorschach is moving toward them both like he wants to throw in his own boot to the head, for good measure.

But when he gets there, he doesn't. He just reaches up to take Nite Owl's jawline in his hands, turn his head roughly from side to side, and the sound he makes is pure terror.

Hey, he tries to say. I'm okay, he tries, but every time his voice starts to engage it catches on something, tears up his throat in a white-hot blossom of pain. He presses his hand there, and the leather of the gauntlet burns against the gaping gash in his cowl, makes the skin underneath catch fire.

It comes away bloody, and not just a little. He remembers the way the knife had slid away, too close, and the adrenaline that's flooded his brain for the last five minutes suddenly crests, overloads him, forces him into a graceless and undignified shutdown.

*

When he comes around, it is in a subway tunnel only about a block from the fight, the hazy streetlight-orange rectangle of the stairwell access visible over Rorschach's shoulder. His goggles are gone, cowl pushed back and pillowed under his head, and his eyes struggle to adapt, to utilize that small bit of light.

Doesn't matter, because Rorschach is framed in silhouette against it, will never resolve into anything but a shadow. Dan wonders, for a second, where they are. It takes him a moment to sort out gravity, much less causality, and when he tries to ask, a lizard-brain understanding of pain that doesn't need causality or gravity forces him to stop.

Rorschach's fingers are on his throat, ungloved, stroking. He doesn't understand that, either.

"Not serious," Rorschach's shadow grumbles. "Just a superficial wound. Thought it was more…"

The floor is vibrating, humming. Electricity, somewhere, and the steady drip of a leaky water line. The fingers on his throat trace a line, over and over, and it stings but Dan cannot speak to tell him to stop.

"Should not have been so boastful," Rorschach says, stilling his hand, "About not having any weaknesses. Expected someone would challenge it, eventually. Didn't anticipate—"

Didn't expect that this is what they'd find, and until tonight Dan wouldn't have bet money on it either. Through all the pain and disorientation, he's touched.

"Liability." The fingers lift away, then settle back down on Dan's face, thumb rubbing over his cheekbone, almost a caress if it weren't so rough and fumbling. It feels like there's something else behind it, some strange magnetism drawing skin to skin, but it's enough that Rorschach's voice doesn't have that determined edge that means he's already made his decision. The obvious choice here—to dispose of the liability by breaking up the partnership—is clearly not acceptable.

Dan just closes his eyes, takes a long, careful breath. Lifts his own hand to press over Rorschach's, and when the pain recedes enough to allow him voice again, they will have a lot to talk about.

*

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
misachan
Oct. 16th, 2011 01:33 am (UTC)
I love your id. These are just gorgeous. I can never get over how clearly I can hear Rorschach's voice when you write him.
leaper182
Oct. 16th, 2011 04:01 am (UTC)
I kind of love how Rorschach completely flips out in the first one, and then the slash viiiiiiiibes in the second one. Lots of talking required! eeeee. <3
gunmaxual
Oct. 16th, 2011 04:13 am (UTC)
"A hunch, he knows, is just the subconscious gathering details small enough to escape the conscious, using them to answer a question he hasn’t quite asked."

I adore this line. It's so Rorschach it's clinical. ^_^ Once again you steal my breath with how spot-on your characters are. Awkward!emotions Rorschach is one of my favorites of yours simply because you don't soften him.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )