Isn't it funny how life gets in the way of things you really care about? My deepest apologies for taking so long. Expect more from me now. Promise.
Red rolled over in her sleep, whimpering as she did not find the warmth she sought. One eye cracked open, squinting against the light that barged in so rudely from her bedroom window. She grunted, snapping the eye shut against the sobering light of day.
She felt cold... Rorschach.
Her eyes snapped open just as fast as they had closed. Her neck cracked audibly as she looked around. No Rorschach.
Her heart dropped into her stomach with a resounding thunk.
"A dream..." Red whispered, her hand coming up to comb through her tangled mass of red hair. "A fucking dream."
Dejected, she flund herself back onto the bed, head landing dangerously close to the headboard. She could not help but be extremely angry at her brain for tricking her. Crafting such a vivid, maddening... albeit completely hot dream.
Her eyes rolled up to stare accusingly at her brain. "I should kill you."
She could almost smell him still... her mind was torturing her.
She cried out in frustation and rolled over, burying her face in the pillow. The strange, unexpected sound of paper crinkling tickled her ears.
She sat up and looked down at the pillow, spotting a small sheet of paper, folded in half.
Her eyebrows knitted together and she gently opened the paper. It was his small, stern writing.
"Could not stay.
Try to keep out of trouble.
See you tonight."
Her heart clawed its way up from her stomach and burst out of her chest, much like a horror movie creature. She smiled. Not a dream...
She got ready for work, not complaining once. Anxious for the night to come.
Woke up feeling weight on chest. Red. Senses flared. Panic slowly faded. Kisses. Adrenaline rushed through body. Torn. Feels... nice. Should feel wrong. Managed to get up from bed without waking Red. Her face looked young, softer in sleep. Swallowed down heart, wrote note, and left.
Her feet hurt. No matter how long she had worked in the library, she could not get used to being on her feet all day.
But she liked being around books. Liked everything about the library. The musty book smell pervading the air. Helping children research their history essay, their science project. All with a smile. It used to be her only escape from the world. Her refuge.
But now Red found herself anticipating her return home for the day. She finally had something to look forward to that wasn't a new book, a new recipe, a new television program. She had something solid. Something tangible. Someone. Her very own someone.
Her coworkers watched her suspiciously. Something was very wrong with this girl. No one in their right mind smiles that much, they thought to themselves. Discussed over coffee. Shook their heads as she passed.
Red said her goodbyes to her increasingly befuddled coworkers, and then she left. Not looking back, she walked home as fast as she could.
Her breath came fast, her hands shook.
God, I haven't even seen him yet and I'm already hyperventilating. I need help.
The sleazy newspaper vendor noticed her approach.
"Hey doll, why the rush? You alright?"
She smiled. "No. I'm great."
He watched her jog past. He shook his head, and went back to reading. Ranting about the headlines in the newspaper to anyone who would listen.
He hadn't come yet. Dinner was getting cold. And he hadn't come yet. She worried like a girl whose husband had left for war. And it was a war. She flung herself on her bed. He probably just got tied up. Fighting bad guys. All this anticipation and he might not even show up tonight.
But he said he would.
Her brain tumbled scenarios around and around. But she finally came to a conclusion, half asleep, that he was a big vigilante... that he could take care of himself. He would show up.
But she was tired. And sleep won out. Red drifted off, knowing she would wake up. And he'd be there. Because he said he would be.
Was late. Lots of activity tonight. Excited to fight but increasingly angry at each perp for stealing time with Red. Nervous. Embarrassed. Was an animal last night. Apologize. For being late. And being an animal. Filthy. I look up. Her window a beacon. Elevating me from the filth, the streets, reality.
Red is lying on her bed. Breathing slow but steady. She shifts from lying on her belly, rolling over, ending up on her back. She sighs a loud sigh and is still. Rorschach wonders if she is one of those people who shifts positions throughout the entire night. Right side, belly, left side, back. Repeat. He sleeps one way. On his back. He is a light sleeper.
He slips quietly into the kitchen, spotting a covered plate and a note.
Busy night fighting crime? Just as well.
I had a busy night fighting bloodthirsty librarians.
I made you dinner. But I was tired.
Hope to see you when I wake up...
Plate of food forgotten, he makes his way back to the bed.
He stands at the foot of the bed, feeling alien. He wants to lie down next to her. Crawl in between the sheets and press himself against her. Feel her warmth. But he does none of these things.
He goes to his chair and tries to sit without making it creak too much. He wants her to wake up feeling safe.
"Did you eat?"
He grunts, sitting up. Forcing himself awake he looks towards Red.
She is sitting up on the bed in her pajamas. Her hair is pointing every which way.
But he can't help but catch his breath because she is still beautiful. The light coming in from the window makes her hair glow a fiery red.
The light...daylight! He jumps up from the chair.
"It looks as if Cinderella has missed her curfew." Red chirps.
He whirls back to look at her. She is smiling, not a hint of malice in her eyes. She is not mocking him.
"Guess you're gonna have to spend your entire day with me..." She sighs dramatically.
"I could just take my costume off and walk outside like a normal man." He states.
"And go outside naked?" She laughs. "You could borrow some of my clothes, but people might question your orientation."
He doesn't know whether to scream at her, laugh, or leave.
"Are you insinuating that I am a..." He gulps. "...homosexual."
She bursts out laughing, flinging herself back on her rumpled bedsheets, holding her insides together.
"I sure... hope... you're not." She gasps out in between breathless laughs.
"Hey now, wait." She stops laughing, instantly serious. "I was just joking with you."
She slowly gets off the bed, approaching him like she would approach a frightened animal. Cautious.
He eyes her, then turns away abruptly.
Nearing closer. "I'm sorry, Rorschach. I did not mean to hurt you. That's the last thing I want to do to you." Believe me. The list is a long one.
"Am not a homosexual." He says quietly.
She forces down any threatening laughs. "I know you aren't. I can tell by the way you kiss me."
She notices that his breathing stops. Okay, steer away from that topic.
"Rorschach, how many noses have you broken?" She questions.
He turns back around, quirking his head to the side.
"Odd question." He growls.
"I wonder a lot of things about you. What size shoe you wear. Your favorite flavor of ice cream. Including how many noses and limbs you've broken and the color of your eyes."
He can't believe this girl thinks this much about him. He finds it odd. He finds it flattering.
"But for now, Rorschach, I'd just like to know how many noses you've broken. Please." Red stops, sucking in a breath.
"Is this twenty questions?" He smiles beneath the mask.
She grins. "Is it more than 27 noses but less than 100?"
He chuckles and it is music to her ears.
"More than 100? Good god, man. That's a lot of noses. I admire you."
"Do you always joke, Red?" He asks.
Her smile fades.
"If I can't smile and laugh, then why live?" She asks him.
She comes closer and grabs his hands. He fights the reflex to tear his hands away. This girl does not want to hurt him. Has no intentions. Of hitting him or abandoning him. So he lets her.
His knees hit the back of the bed until he collapses, sits on the edge.
"But sometimes, Rorschach, I am known to be very serious..." Her face floats inches from his. Her eyes burning, trying to find him beneath his ink.
Her face darts forward. She rubs her cheek against his. Back and forth, reminding him of the cats in the alleyways. They rub against his pant legs, meowing for his help. His affection. She nuzzles his face, his neck. And he grows increasingly hot beneath his face. He is not used to being touched but he likes this. A little too much.
Her mouth brushes against his mask, across his cheekbones, along his chin, until she finds his mouth. She kisses him. His mouth beneath the mask, and it drives him mad. Her breath hot against his clothed lips. There, but not on his skin. Almost enough... but not quite.
He wills her with his mind to pull off his mask. He wants her to kiss him. See him. Kiss the skin of his cheekbones, the bridge of his nose, his forehead. He hopes she can hear his thoughts. His gloved hand goes to hers, bringing it up to the edge of his face and let's go. Her hand goes up to his shoulder, caressing. He grunts his frustration. How can she stand this?
"Red." His voice husky, his hands come up to her shoulders.
She pulls him closer.
"Red, Red." He growls, trying to still her movements. "Stop."
She immediately stops, pulling back. Her eyes hazy. "I'm sorry." She says quietly.
"No." His hands drop from her shoulders. "I'm sorry."
Her eyebrows knit together. "For what?"
"For being late."
She smiles, shaking her head. "Is that all?"
"For being an animal." He grits out between clenched teeth, his head hanging in shame.
She does not know what to say.
"Rorschach..." She rests her hands around his neck.
"You are not an animal." She states.
He stares at his shoes, his hands clenched at his sides.
"Hey! Look at me." She lifts his head up.
"You are not filthy." She places a kiss on his upturned forehead.
"You do not have to be sorry because you aren't filthy. You aren't. This isn't. What we have. It's not like those people you see on the corner. It's not my stepfather." Her eyes water. "It's not my mom. We are not filthy. And if you are sorry about kissing me or liking me... then you're insulting me."
She finishes, her voice tinged with an air of finality. She takes three steps back from him letting her rant sink in.
"I'm not sorry." She whispers.
He watches Red take a few steps back. He feels an odd pulling sensation. As if something was attached to the both of them. Where she goes, he wants to follow.
He stands up. He takes three steps towards her.
His hands reach up to tangle in her hair. He breathes her in.
"Not sorry." He mumbles into her hair. She lets loose the breath she was holding in.
Her arms wrap around him. "I'm glad."
She grabs the hat off his head and running she jumps on the bed, nonchalantly placing the hat on her head.
He thinks it looks good on her. But he does not say so.
"You confuse me." He gruffs.
"Thank you." Red says sincerely.
He reaches out, head inclining towards her. "Give the hat back."
"And why should I?" She teases.
"Because it's mine." He insists.
"Nice vigilantes share their things." She admonishes.
"I'm not nice." He counters.
"Liar." She sings.
"Am not." He growls.
"Prove it." Her eyes widen.
Red crosses her arms in front of her chest. Waiting.
His gloves creak as he begins to stalk towards her, stepping up gracefully onto the bed to halt right in front of her. For the millionth time she forgets to breathe. Staring, he does nothing.
"You're not... going to break my nose are you?" She whispers.
Amused, he whispers. "No."
"Good." She states.
Rorschach moves forward and she retreats until the back of her legs hit the headboard, shoulder blades against the wall. He leans in and breathes in. Exhales as if smoking a cigarette.
Her eyes flutter closed as his words reach her ears.
"I don't know why... I don't know." He murmurs to himself.
"W..what?" She stammers.
She feels his hands grip her small hips and she fights back a gasp.
"I want to... be nice to you." A soft, growling admission.
She bites her lip and opens her eyes. She looks at this man, this masked man. And she cannot help herself.
"I'd like that." She admits shakily.
He does not know what to think. He does not know if he is thinking. On the edge, adrenaline pumps through his veins. Even moreso than when he is fighting. He wants to run and he wants to stay. His fingertips trace her delicate hipbones, peeking out from the top of her pants. She is so small, breakable. Delectable.
Her skin is pale. Flawless, perfect in his eyes. His hand glides across the soft skin of her belly, delighting in her sudden intake of breath.
"Why do I feel this?" His voice cracks.
Her hands cover his. One on her hip, one resting on her belly.
"I don't know. I really don't." She whispers. "But I feel so goddamn lucky."
He looks up, searching her eyes.
"You have no idea." She admits.
The hand on her belly retreats to pull his mask up to his nose. Red shivers in anticipation.
"I'm not going to kiss you yet." He grunts.
She lets out a small moan of protest. But why?
His hands go to the buttons of her sleep shirt. He wills his hands not to shake.