Stripes

Disclaimer: I don't own anything from the movie Watchmen and I'm not making any money from this fic

Summary: Follows The Cost of Peace in the Twenty Fics series. A zebra can't change its stripes. Rorschach isn't used to working with others. Or to curtailing his violent behaviour

Warning(s): Spanking; spoilers for the whole of the Watchmen movie; AU; violence; sexual situations between three men; torture

Pairing: Dan/Rorschach/Adrian


He hadn't lost his edge.

Rorschach looked down at the bloodied man crumpled in the dark alleyway and felt…absolutely nothing. Except a vague sense of contempt for the whimpering kidnapper. He crouched down over the man, looming down so the monster could see the shifting patterns in his face. "Where is she?" he growled.

"I killed her." The man bared his teeth, blood trickling down from his split lips and filling his mouth.

Rorschach grabbed a fistful of the man's hair and yanked his head up. He punched the man in the face. Once. Twice. Three times. When he let go, the man spat blood and several teeth onto the ground, before giving an insane grin. "Doesn't matter what you do to me. I still win."

"You'd better be lying." Rorschach grabbed the man's ear between his thumb and forefinger and gave a sharp yank. Blood spurted all over his face and the man squealed like a stuck pig as his ear came free in Rorschach's grip.

"Rorschach. That's enough."

Rorschach grunted at the familiar voice behind him and turned, taking in Nite Owl's form. Was the sight of Dan in full costume supposed to make him hard? He stood up after slamming the man's face into the ground and turned to face Nite Owl. "How did you find me?"

Ignoring the question, Dan stepped closer and Rorschach couldn't help tensing up, wondering if their dynamic here was going to change. "I'm not going to hand him in to the police."

"I'm not telling you to do that."

"Then why are you here?"

Dan didn't respond and instead walked over to the man. He reached out and placed two fingers against the murderer's neck, then looked up at Rorschach. "He's still breathing."

"Get out of the way and I'll change that."

Dan hesitated and Rorschach forced himself to breathe slow and deep. Was he second-guessing their relationship? Rorschach knew he wasn't easy to work with. Or live with. Probably not even to have sex with, though he hadn't heard either of his partners complaining in that regard. "He's not a good man." He didn't know why he was trying to excuse himself, only…he didn't want Dan to see the monster inside him. He didn't want to keep on staining one of the only good things that had ever happened to him.

"Are you sure he's killed the little girl he took?"

Rorschach glanced past Dan's form, at the monster who lay crumpled and bleeding in the shadows. "Scum like him? Can't be sure of anything. I'll get it out of him." He began striding towards the kidnapper.

Dan placed his hand on Rorschach's chest, stopping him. The hand on his chest wasn't painful. The hold was weak. Could be broken easily and yet…and yet, Rorschach stopped in his tracks. Dan didn't need to use force on him. Rorschach's body responded to his touch and he wondered if Dan had any idea how he felt; how hungry he was for the contact. He was so lost in trying to make sure his body didn't betray him where he stood, e almost missed Dan's comment. "You agreed to wait."

Rorschach shifted his weight. "You were busy."

"I was free tonight. I told you that. We were going to go after him together," Dan said softly, taking a step closer to Rorschach so they were pressed together.

Rorschach shook his head. How could he explain to Dan, that he didn't want the only good thing in his life to be infected by his darkness? Rorschach knew he wasn't one of the good guys. Not like his friend. Not like his partner. "We won't find her standing around talking."

"So you think she's still alive."

"Only one way to find out." Rorschach watched the lower half of Dan's face, all he could see with Nite Owl's mask. "Please step outside."

Dan frowned. "Why?"

Because he didn't want his partner to see first-hand what his interrogation methods entailed. But Rorschach didn't voice that. Instead, he said, "Need someone as a lookout."

Dan took a step back, his warmth disappearing, and turned to look at the broken man. Looking back at Rorschach, all he said was, "We'll talk about this later."

At least there would be a later. Rorschach contented himself with that thought as he returned to the kidnapper's side.

The screaming went on for a very long time.


It hadn't been a completely wasted mission. In the end, Rorschach's 'interrogation' had garnered a positive result. The little girl had been a captive, but was still alive. They'd retrieved her, hurt and traumatised, but she'd gone home to her family.

Dan was quiet as they returned to their home. That wasn't unusual. None of them were really given to needless conversation, or felt the need to fill up silences with inane chatter. Dan didn't even speak until they stood in the mansion's hall and then all he said was, "I'm going to get changed."

Rorschach just nodded. He turned to watch Dan walk up the stairs and thought about calling him back. Thought about deep, passionate kisses and wild sex that would leave him breathless. But he wasn't sure he could ask, so all he did was watch.

The sound of footsteps made Rorschach tense, but he relaxed as Adrian came through the door closest to the stairs. "You're home early."

"It's past midnight," Adrian replied.

"Huh. Took longer than I thought. Dan went upstairs."

"It's good to see you." Adrian smiled at him. "It feels like all I'm doing is working."

Rorschach nodded. "Must be hard, knowing you still have to put so much work in even after what you sacrificed for this peace."

The stricken look on Adrian's face made Rorschach wish he'd held his tongue. Of course, he'd never claimed to be good at saying the right things. Adrian didn't say anything and Rorschach held back the apology he wanted to voice, certain Adrian would assume it was false. He glanced towards the stairs as Dan came back into view, pushing his glasses into place.

"Hi…you're still awake?" Dan reached out and pulled Adrian into a tight embrace, tilting his head up so he could kiss him firmly.

The sound Adrian made was nearly a whimper as he pressed into Dan. "I wanted to stay up until you both came home safe."

Dan kissed him again and then steered him towards the stairs. "If you've eaten, I'd like you to go upstairs. Get into bed. We'll be up soon."

Adrian nodded, but he glanced over his shoulder at Rorschach, a hesitantly hopeful look on his face. Rorschach sighed and stepped over to his second partner, reaching out to tug Adrian closer to him. He didn't know how to be gentle, but Adrian wrapped his arms around him and pressed a kiss to his cheek. He mildly swatted Adrian's backside. "Go on."

"You'd better make sure you come up soon." Adrian lowered his head and pushed Rorschach's jacket to the side so he could get at his bare shoulder, kissing the skin there. "It's been a long day," he whispered, hot breath ghosting over damp skin. "Long several days, really. I need you…."

Rorschach closed his eyes and tried not to be scared by the level of that need. He was going to disappoint Adrian, just like he had Dan. He watched Adrian disappear up the stairs and then turned to Dan. "I know you're upset."

Dan smiled and motioned with his head. "Come on. Let's talk in the living room." He headed in through the same door Adrian had come out of.

Rorschach followed and, after a brief hesitation, moved over to sit down on the couch next to Dan. He didn't lean into his partner, but he didn't fight when Dan wrapped an arm around his shoulders and pulled him in close. "What do you want me to say?" Rorschach asked quietly.

"I don't want you to say anything." Dan's fingers touched the bottom of Rorschach's face, peeling up the covering so his lips were revealed.

Rorschach closed his eyes as Dan kissed him, returning it hungrily. The kiss started out gently, but after a moment, Dan lightly nipped his lips, then pulled away to nip along his jawline and down his neck, pushing his jacket and shirt out of the way to continue down over more of his bare skin.

By the time Dan pulled back, Rorschach's lips felt swollen and he was hard enough to feel uncomfortable, straining against his pants. He shifted closer to Dan, who shook his head and patted his leg. "Spanking first. Then we'll go upstairs."

Rorschach eyed his partner's lap and then carefully slid himself over Dan's knees, adjusting his position so that he wouldn't catch himself on his partner's knee. Still, when Dan tugged his pants and boxers down, he had to hold himself stiff so the friction wouldn't cause him to lose control.

The first smack was hard and echoed loudly in the room. Rorschach winced and held back a gasp as a second and third smack landed. The smacks continued down to his thighs and he hissed out a sharp breath as Dan began swatting again from the top of his backside, covering skin that had already received attention.

"I don't need you to tell me why you went after the guy alone," Dan said, his hand swatting in time with each word. "You probably think I'm too innocent to be aware of what you do to get information. I'm not a fool, Rorschach. Just because we do things differently doesn't mean I'm going to be shocked or change how I feel about you. I knew what I was getting when we formed our relationship and I'm not going to change my mind."

Rorschach took a deep breath, the relentless smacks making him jerk his legs. He knew he could stop this spanking at any time. He didn't even need to hurt Dan to stop him.

But Dan was a better man than he was. And if he thought Rorschach's behaviour was deserving of punishment, Rorschach couldn't bring himself to stop him. The spanking was painful, though, and Rorschach reached down to grasp his partner's ankle to stop himself fighting. "Knowing isn't the same as seeing," he got out.

Dan's hand began swatting harder and faster, though he continued working his way methodically over Rorschach's backside. "Maybe not, but it's not going to change how I feel about you. We could have talked about this, rather than you sneak out when you knew I expected you to wait."

Rorschach had to bite his lip to stop himself making a sound as Dan swatted harder with the last several words. He closed his eyes, but they were still watering. "Don't want to…infect you," he gasped out, fighting to keep his voice from revealing how much the spanking was affecting him.

"You can't," Dan replied bluntly. "Whatever's between us, it's too late. You already made the decision to be with me, for good or bad."

The laugh that escaped Rorschach wasn't filled with humour, but it was either laugh or cry. "We're not married."

"Were you planning to leave me? Leave us?"

There was an emotion beneath Dan's voice that Rorschach didn't recognise but made his stomach twist. "No. But this isn't forever. It can't be. I'm not a good person. I'm not like you."

"I want you."

Rorschach squeezed his eyes tightly closed. Those words shot straight to his groin; but more than that, he could hear the sincerity in those words. Slumping over Dan's lap, he breathed deep, blinking to try and stop the tears.

"I love you, Rorschach. You and Adrian both." As he spoke, Dan tugged Rorschach's clothing back into place and then helped him up.

Rorschach found himself pulled tightly into Dan's arms and he sighed quietly as Dan kissed him hard, then had to work on holding back his moans as his partner's hands began to roam over his bare skin under his jacket, sliding down into his pants and caressing between his legs. He did let out a tiny, almost whimpering sound when Dan let him go after one last lingering kiss.

"I know." Dan nipped gently at his lips. "But we should go up to bed. To Adrian."

Rorschach didn't say anything, but he followed Dan out of the living room like a puppy dog. They headed up the stairs and he continued after his partner into the bedroom.

Adrian was sitting up on the bed, reading, but he looked up with a smile as the two of them appeared, putting the file to one side. He patted the bed on either side of him. "Are you up to staying awake for a while?" he asked, looking hopefully between them.

Rorschach sat down carefully on the bed and leaned over to kiss his second partner. Adrian relaxed and leaned into him, kissing back.

Dan climbed into bed on the other side and wrapped his arms around Adrian from the other side. "I think we can stay awake for a while longer," he said. "But you need to rest for at least a little while tomorrow."

"Okay," Adrian replied obediently, pulling away from Rorschach so he could kiss Dan.

"You must be tired," Rorschach commented. "Didn't even put up a token argument."

"Just being with you sounds good," Adrian admitted, arching his head to one side as Dan began to kiss his along his neck and shoulder. "I'm too worn down to protest. Besides," he added, a slightly mischievous look on his face, "I'd better listen to Nite Owl. Any chance you could put on the costume, Dan? Just for tonight?"

Rorschach couldn't help smiling as Adrian echoed his own attraction to Dan in his superhero costume; and then his smile faded when he was tugged into the huddle that consisted of his partners. And then all he felt was pleasure and the intense feeling of being wanted.

The End