More Rorschach for you guys! I will eventually write for some of the other characters, but there's a few good Rorschach stories still kicking around in my head at the moment. He's such a great character to explore, particularly his duality--and how you're never quite sure if he's gone crazy or not. Oh you crazy uberrightwing nutcase, how I adore you.

I know I mentioned the whole kids thing in the other story, but part of what I think about why Rorschach does what he does (and supported by that final scene with his landlady in the book) is that he doesn't want ANY child to end up like he did. While he is absolutely hard-assed on stopping all crime, I think he reserves a special hatred for people who target innocent children.

For the record, I love love love how Dan and Rorschach interact. There's something so wonderful about having these two guys who clearly both regret that the friendship...if that's what you can call it..came to an end. It's nice, and I think essential to making Rorschach a more layered character by having him have someone he does genuinely trust.

I suppose it also goes for saying that I'm kind of a fan of The Question, who Rorschach's kind of a big ol' pastiche of. (Seriously, go watch the JLU episode "Question Authority" and tell me you don't see how Rorschach came out of that. Disregard the whole fact that by that time he was less of older Question and more like Rorshach mixed with Mulder from XFiles). But Question gets a girlfriend, XD

Nowadays kids think the Question's some Rorschach ripoff.

If you think I own this thing, you're nuts. N-V-T-S, nuts.

Summary: But the young Silk Spectre, with her shining smile and innocent eyes had commented on the smell. But when he heard Daniel agree, hesitantly, something stung.

"The world abhors closeness, and all but admires extravagance; yet a slack hand shows weakness, and a tight hand strength"

Thomas Fowell Buxton


He was a man of practical means.

Walter Kovacs did not like his job. He wasn't particularly good at it, but he wasn't terrible. It was was bearable.

It paid the rent. He rarely had to talk to anyone, and he preferred it that way. Like he had always done, he cleaned when it was necessary. No one was ever quite close enough for him to ever care.

In many ways, that didn't change when he teamed up with the second Nite Owl. They worked together, talked only a little (much more than he had ever been used to). Ten years (give or take) of partnership, and it was almost (only almost) like he had a friend.

Walter Kovacs had been soft, weak, despite his tenacious attacks on the city's muck. He allowed things to get to him, allowed mercy to those who did not need, did not deserve it.

Sharp ears caught words of criticism when Veidt had attempted to reprise the Minutemen as the "Crimebusters". Mostly that his lack of expression was unnerving, what had this new Nite Owl been thinking, and so on.

But the young Silk Spectre (her mother waiting right outside, in a limosine, of all things), with her shining smile and innocent eyes had commented on the smell.

True, Kovacs lived in a fairly run down part of town, where the water often ran cold and impure, but he did bathe. In the girl's defense, a sweltering summer evening often make it difficult for Kovacs--now merely playing Rorschach--to be as stealthy as he could have been. But when he heard Daniel agree, hesitantly, something stung.

So he cleaned up, every few days instead of once or twice a week (he rarely interacted with customers--his silence and intense stare often unsettled them. The owner had kept him from presenting clothing after Kitty Genovese had refused the dress).

For a moment, he almost had friends. And there was a reason to care what they thought of him.

He had been weak.

The Keene Act had not been the end for Walter Kovacs. Blaire Roche, poor little Blaire, had been the end of it. Poor Blaire, who never had a chance. Whose parents had sat, terrified of the masked man in front of them, but even more scared of their daughter's fate.

He had hoped, Kovacs. Hoped he could have brought her home--injured and scared but alive.

Slowly, he observed the scene, piece after piece of the morbid puzzle coming together in his mind.

Her underwear in the furnace.

The fresh grooves across the cutting boards.

Freshly used knives.

The dogs fighting in the yard over what he had thought was an unremarkable bone.

Oh, no.

Oh, God.

Oh, God, no.

Mother..

Kovacs shook, breath ragged in horror. Fear turned his stomach; he willed against the urge to retch.

Somewhere deep, Rorschach waited. Crept into the mind, and suggested. Kovacs listened.

The dogs sat complacent on the porch when he opened the door. The first looked at him, tail wagging.

The shock thrummed through his arms as the cleaver cracked through bone, and Kovacs cried out for the last time.

Later that night, Gerald Grice would burn alive, chained to his furnace.

Later that night, it was Rorschach who would creep into Daniel Dreiberg's basement, frightening his now occasional partner (like always) with his appearance.

Rorschach told the former Nite Owl what had happened, letting the last vestiges of weak, needful Walter Kovacs out into the air. Had left.

Had gone to her parents, trying to salvage Kovacs' strangled ability to empathize. Had handed them a shoe. Blaire's.

Apologized. Told the family to blame him for not getting there in time.

Told them there had been a fire. Told them the criminal did not survive.

Now he devoted his life to cleaning the streets, alone. Slowly taking out the filth while all the while becoming twisted himself.

Now he was only compelled to clean himself off when the residue of blood and sweat and rank filth became too much and hindered his ability to go unnoticed.

He didn't work anymore; only walked the blocks near Daniel's home without his face, a lone street prophet in an age of nuclear panic.

Every week he would get his issue of "The New Frontiersman", his intense gaze disconcerting to the newsstand owner.

No one liked him in either guise, and often he was insulted to his face.

Which was fine.

There was no one to make the effort to be personable for anymore. No reason to talk, no reason to try to keep himself with a roof above his head (despite what many prositutes had yelled at his retreating back) other than having a place safe from the streets where he could rest before returning to his rounds.

Kovacs needed friends.

Rorschach did not.