Ordinary World: Hey, Jupiter
Rating: R (m/m sex, violence)
Pairing: Rorschach/Nite Owl, Silk Spectre/Dr. Manhattan (well, sort of)
Disclaimer: Alan Moore owns these characters. But hey, his intellectual property rights don't stop people from making movies out of his graphic novels, so why should it stop people from writing fic about them? Food Not Bombs belong to themselves.
Summary: In which Manhattan hesitates, Laurie goes to Jupiter, and Dan is left behind in a post-apocalyptic NYC to save Rorschach from himself. Gratuitous fix-it fic, with porn.
Reality is not singular, is no more linear than time or space. At the bottom of the world, Dr. Manhattan, for all his power, is only offered glimpses of the possibilities, of the universes that branch out from his own, of the tiny decisions and accidents that change the course of the future. More accidents, he thinks, than decisions.
In one reality, he never leaves Janey Slater's watch in his lab coat, and the Vietnamese win the war.
In one reality, it is the Soviets who acquire nuclear superiority. In another, the Islamic Caliphate rises to fill the void left by a Europe decimated by the bubonic plague. In another, Mithraism drives civilization and Christianity is buried beneath the dust of ancient history, and the people who live in the city that isn't called New York wear golden bulls around their necks.
In one reality, Heinz only has 57 varieties.
He does not speculate on whether these realities are better or worse than his own. Human beings live and die, regardless. They die beneath mushroom clouds, beneath nightmare monsters, beneath towers struck by hijacked airplanes.
A live body and a dead body contain the same number of particles. He only observes.
In one reality, he and Rorschach face each other in the snow. Rorschach screams: "Do it." He does. He feels nothing.
But in this reality, he hesitates, because Laurie is calling him. Laurie who, in another universe, embraces Daniel, in this universe, can think only of the horror she has just witnessed.
"Jon," she says. She doesn't need to shout over the raging wind. She's quiet, but he hears her. "Jon, I can't stand it. Get me out of here. Mars, fucking Jupiter, I don't care. I want to leave."
In every reality where he is Dr. Manhattan, he leaves Earth. In this one, he turns from the man he should kill, and towards the woman he would have loved, had he been human. He doesn't think that she loves him back. He isn't sure that she ever did. But she doesn't want to wake up tomorrow to a world where half of New York is dead, where she knows why, where she says nothing.
He reaches for her.
Dan is too late, always too late. Too late to understand what Dr. Manhattan's sudden disappearance had meant, too late to stop Laurie from going with him. Thirty-five goddamned minutes too late.
He shields his eyes from the burst of light as they dematerialize.
When he opens them, everything is quiet. He doesn't think it should be so quiet. He thinks there should be screaming.
He meets Rorschach's eyes—actual eyes, not inkblots—from across the snow. Wonders what the hell his ex-partner is still doing here, then decides he doesn't care because, well, millions of New Yorkers are dead, and Hollis is dead, Adrian is a mass murderer, and Laurie is gone, and the only person in the entire world who he can ever talk to about it is standing in front of him.
"Owlship—fixable?" Rorschach asks him.
"God," Dan says, "I hope so."