etherati (etherati) wrote,

FIC: Now, As Before - [4/12]

Title: Now, As Before
Fandom: Watchmen
Characters/Pairings: Dan/Rorschach, lightly
Date Written: 2009
Summary: "After changes upon changes we are more or less the same."
Rating/Warnings: R. Language. Violence. ZOMBIES. Cracky premise, non-cracky treatment.
Notes: This is completely a guilty indulgence – I love reading zombie AU fics, don’t usually write stuff like this. So! This was a zombiefic challenge from elsewhere(the kinkmeme *coughs*). AU. Pre-Roche, so expect reasonably complete sentences from our favorite psychotic redhead. Warnings include: 'zombies created by SCIENCE' cliché, bad science on top of it, mild gore, MotherHen!Dan, non-explicit slashiness(Dan/Ror). Also: OMGWTF*LONG*.This sucker is sitting at about 50 pages in Word right now. End notes are at the end.
Spoilers: Some Roche stuff eventually. Not much else.

EXTRA NOTE: All illustrations are by liodain , NOT ME.


Day 7.


Dan comes up from the basement with plodding, tired steps, echoing on the narrow stairway like something much larger and more dangerous. He's been retooling Archie all day, working on the armor, working on new weapons. Making it a safe form of transport in a city still swarming with the bastard children of mankind's shortsightedness-

(You're starting to think like him)

-and swarming just as profusely with people in danger, people who are no longer able to heed the advice of 'stay indoors' for one reason or another. Maybe they're out of food. Maybe they're ailing and need doctors or medicine. Maybe they've gone mad with the isolation of a week's captivity, shadows shifting across windows and faces, screams echoing dully through the walls.

Dan's getting pretty close to that last one himself.

The radio news hasn't been helping much, either: Local hospitals reporting high rates of unexplained fatalities among admissions infected with VT-10 – that's what they're calling it now, the designation declassified by necessity – people simply fading, failing, dying in the night...

...and the original test subjects beginning to drop dead where they stand, like a switch had been flipped – or a timer. Ticking.

(What would you do if you woke up one morning and found him-)

(Stop it.)

(And what would it do to him, to die as alone as he's lived?)

Then there were the unsubstantiated claims that people were starting to be attacked by the carriers as well as the test subjects, that formerly released patients were being dragged off in restraints, frothing and biting and mad as adders.

(Stop it.)

He steps into the kitchen distracted, miserable thoughts like black water spinning to the surface, refusing to stay down. Just a week ago he'd said this wasn't a horror movie, but...

He pauses in his tracks, then smiles slightly, the first glimmer of genuine relief he's felt since this began. Rorschach has pulled himself out of the guest room and into the kitchen – stubborn goddamned bastard – and is scraping a fork around the edges of a can of something or other, mask pushed up as he eats. The exposed skin is still startling, all ivory and blue and bruised, but he's eating. There are other cans and boxes and packets, all half-eaten, spread around haphazardly. A bowl a third-filled with cornflakes sits abandoned near the center of the table. It could almost be normal, almost be before, if it weren't for the constant noise from outside. The smile comes through in his voice. "Hungry?"

"Mm." The fork scrapes a few more times, and the can goes down, still partially filled. Another is picked up, prodded at experimentally.

"I could heat something up for you, you know. Without being too domestic about it, I promise."

The fork stills for a moment, the thought turning itself over, and Dan gets the impression that it isn't the offer of warm food he's thinking about.

("Not taking any chances. Not with you.")

("Don’t you dare, you bastard, your brain is gonna cook in there...")

(" not get us both killed.")


(...because you still see him as alive, don't you? Despite all evidence to the contrary...)

The can also joins the others. A quick motion and the mask is back down. "Doesn't matter. It all just tastes like metal anyway."

Dan frowns, picking up the cereal bowl. "Metal?"

"Adrenaline. Fear. Metal."

A slow nod, then Dan turns to the sink, dumping the sodden remains of the cereal down the drain, turning on the water. He knows the taste his partner's referring to; the blood-in-your-throat feeling when adrenaline spikes too high and for too long, enough to have convinced him he must have torn something inside the first time it'd happened except that it isn't quite copper, isn't quite iron. Tin, maybe. Aluminum. Fear...

Dan cleans quietly until he hears a rustling at his elbow, glances over in time to see the catering sack disappear from the counter. He listens to the rough crunching of sugar cubes behind him, comforted in some small way that some things, at least, are immune to change.


---->Chapter 5.

Tags: fic, omg zombies run!, slash, watchmen
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