Okay, first attempt at writing in FOREVER!! I tried proofreading, but it is likely I missed some things. Please point them out nicely if you find them. Rorschach is a challenge to write for, especially in this sort of fic, but I'm giving it the god ole college try ^^

I hope this doesn't suck too badly.

I don't own anyone in the Watchmen universe, Audrey is mine though… so no stealing, 'kay?

Rorschach's Journal, November 1, 1982

Late afternoon, the city is restless, animals straining at the edge of the shadows. Hungry for the innocent flesh that walks by, unaware of the death eagerly nipping at their heels. No, not innocent. Nothing is untouched.

The woman walked with purpose, glancing at street signs and studying her surroundings with a cautious, yet confident air. Though she was aware that a myriad of possible dangers lurked in the alleyways nearby, she would not be driven from her goal. Turning the corner at fortieth and seventh, a smile pulled at the corners of her mouth upon seeing the old newsstand and its loyal vendor. Stepping behind the overweight man as he finished closing up the stand, she tapped his shoulder.

Glancing around there was a short moment of confusion before his eyes lit up with recognition. "Audrey," he laughed as they embraced warmly, a gesture at odds with the darkening atmosphere of the city. "Last time I saw you, you were barely out of high school. What the heck brings you around here?"

The woman chuckled, "Hi Uncle Bernard," giving him one last squeeze before they released one another. "I'm in town for a new job offer. There's a conference tomorrow, just thought I'd stop in and say hi before I get home," she replied.

Bernard raised a brow, "Oh? This must be a good offer to drag you all the way out to the city."

"Product design for one Veidt industries' smaller umbrella companies," she grinned. "Should be apart of a team of artists and sculptors making toys for the Ozymandias line… If all goes well, at least."

The man whistled appreciatively. "Veidt huh?" he gave a toothy grin. "I'm happy for yah hun," and hugged her again. Looking up, he frowned, "You should be heading home, it's getting dark," he paused, "Where are you staying anyway?"

She shifted the strap of her messenger bag and dug out a bus schedule, "Up at Dad's place. He has Kyle while Steph's on a business trip, so I'm giving him a hand with babysitting while I look for an apartment."

Bernard frowned, "Not fair for you t-"

Audrey waved her hand dismissively, smiling, "It's no problem. I haven't seen the little devil since the adoption was finalized, plus it'll be good for him to know who the hell his sister is right?" She glanced at her watch, "Crap! I gotta go, bye Uncle Bernie!" She gave the man a quick hug before running off back the way she came, "I'll come back tomorrow," the woman shot over her shoulder, hearing the man laugh as she bolted down the sidewalk.

Turning the corner Audrey nearly collided with a short, shabbily dressed man bearing a dirty white sign on his shoulder. Clumsily hopping to the side she managed to redirect most of her forward momentum away from the man, but she still barely avoided smacking her face into his sign. Stumbling on the poorly kept sidewalk she somehow managed not to trip over her own feet, 'Thank God for little favors.' "Sorry about that," she said, bowing her head and offering an awkward half-smile.

The man looked over at her impassively, "Somewhere important?" he asked, tone dull and devoid of any noticeable inflection.

Audrey blinked in confusion, "Excuse me?"

"Running away from something then," he stated, glancing around the corner. Finding nothing he turned back with the barest hint of annoyance in the set of his brows.

'This guy's a little freaky,' she thought to herself, 'and he smells like a trash can,' she noted absently. "No just trying to catch the bus," she said taking half a step back. The man was close to (if not exactly) her height, but something in his eyes intimidated her and she had enough sense to not mess around with any matter of crazy people who lived in this city.

He raised a brow, pointing down the street with a dirty finger, "That one?"

"What?" Audrey turned to see the bus drive off down the steadily darkening street. She swore sharply, 'That's the last bus for another hour,' she groaned in her head. Turning back she saw the dirty, redheaded man walking away down the sidewalk. Scowling at his retreating back, only then did she notice the words on his sign 'The End Is Nigh". The woman sighed, rubbing the bridge of her nose, "Cheerful guy," she muttered.

Looking over at her Uncle's newsstand she found it closed down and unmanned, glancing around she couldn't spot the man anywhere. "Damnit," Audrey growled sourly, stuffing her hands into her jacket pockets. Walking over to the bus stop she leaned against the rusted street light, setting her shoulders against a suddenly, sharp wind, "Damnit," she grumbled again and waited.

Discarded mask and put face back on. Night is young and can already hear cries rising out of the city's underbelly. Leaving now.

After about half an hour, Audrey was beginning to really hate life in general and wondered if she had done anything to anger some karmic deity. This sort of grouching wasn't exactly becoming for a woman in her late thirties, but she was a woman so she was allowed to bitch. As the sun finished setting over the horizon, the temperature seemed to drop about thirty degrees. Her mental estimate was likely exaggerated, but that reasoning didn't help her feel any warmer. Also, she was feeling ridiculously exposed standing alone at the bus stop. As the sunlight receded Audrey sensed a near palpable change in the air, a dangerous turn. She could see the bright neon signs of the strip club down the street and the vague forms of the prostitutes prowling around for customers. Wrinkling her nose at the thought, she shrugged off the disapproval after a moment of thought. "Don't judge lest ye be judged," she murmured softly into the scarf she had wound around the lower half of her face in order to keep her nose from freezing off. Rolling her eyes she butted her head gently against the metal lamp post with a groan, "Friggin' catholic high school," she muttered.

Audrey jerked upright when a shuffling sound came from the alleyway just off to her left. Gripping the butterfly knife in her pocket (one of her father's that he gave to her when she moved out to college), she watched the alley out of the corner of her eye. Boisterous voices drifted from the alley, accompanied by the footsteps of definitely more than a few people, Audrey didn't even bother trying to count individual footfalls as they emerged from the shadows.

Audrey tried to relax and make herself an indifferent piece of the landscape, but she could not seem to release the tension in her shoulders. She settled to looking down the street with disinterest and leaning casually against the lamppost, gripping the knife firmly in her concealed fist. At least there was no way (in her mind) that she would be mistaken for a whore. The top half of her face was the only bit of exposed skin on her body and her canvas-denim jacket was warm, but bulky and unattractive.

Her heart rate started to pick up and her legs trembled a little due to the cold and from the trickling of adrenaline starting to flow through them. She heard the gang walk down the sidewalk a little ways, she couldn't make much sense out of their simultaneous conversations as they passed by her… not that she really had much of a desire to know.

After several very long minutes the group continued down the street, to do whatever it was that city street gangs did on cold November nights, and Audrey allowed herself to release the breath she had been holding.

As if by some divine cue a sharp scream erupted from across the street and was quickly stifled. Audrey nearly leapt out of her skin in surprise, but looked hard beyond the dim halo of light she stood under. Dark forms writhed beside a shadowed stoop of an apartment building and her eyes widened when she saw a pair of men drag a partly conscious girl (looking hardly out of her teenage years) into a nearby alley. 'Too many fucking alleys in this city,' she thought somewhere in the back of her mind.

Suddenly she was torn between her own safety and the fate of that young girl. She gripped her knife so tightly that the handle started to bite into her palm and a low angry sound fought its way out of her chest. Looking up and down the relatively quiet street, an odd thing for any New York City road, she quickly decided that she couldn't run off to look for a phone. She could take the chance and waste time trying to find a booth or go knocking on doors until someone loaned her theirs, then she'd have to wait for the police to actually arrive… there just wasn't enough time. 'She could be dead by the time the cops get here... but I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I didn't do something,' she thought and walked across the street, pulling out her knife and flipping it open with a practiced flick of her wrist. 'Random skill number 34, ability to handle knife. See mom? Totally useful,' she thought with an oddly immature level of smugness. Turning the blade so it lay flat against her sleeve, hidden from immediate view, she pressed herself against the building and peered into the alley.

Bwahaha!! Cliff-hanger!! :dodges bricks: