A/N: Upon doing a rough outline, I decided, Mercy's dream is long enough to constitute its own chapter. I'll just have to put Rorschach's/Walter's in its own chapter. Well, kudos to you ArmoredSoul. You got not one, but two whole chapters out of me I never intended to write and who knows how many more. Proof leaving reviews can get impressive responses from at least this author.
On the title: I like to keep a theme going with chapter titles and I don't generally repeat them like I've done here, but in this case I'm making an exception because I originally intended to put both dreams into a single chapter titled "Dreams and Nightmares".
Col: Thanks for the vote of confidence. ^_^ And it makes me really happy that there are people who can share in my little guilty pleasure and not just be angry about how impossible it is for Rorschach to have a "love" interest.
ArmoredSoul: A grand ideal! I do intend to put some serious background effort into my little Mercy Sue. Though, I'm somewhat daunted by the task of writing from Rorschach's perspective. I will maniacally enjoy starting out with, "Rorschach's Journal..." *GLEE*
Atheneblue: Kovacs, not Walter. Must remember that! Thank you so much for pointing it out. I'm a bit obsessive with getting the little details straight, and if something felt off and I couldn't figure out why exactly, it would drive me nuts.
AutumnRose45: Yes, indeed. Mercy will be receiving a full crew of friends, family, and peers. I'm plotting an obnoxious doctor who may or may not get punched in the face by a certain red haired vigilante. Who? Walter? No, I was thinking of uhm...uh...shoot. Kinda obvious. Don't know for sure yet, just a vague idea at this point.
kpheonix76: Ha ha! Yes the haters can hate all they want. It won't spoil my fun. I'm well aware of what I'm doing and that Alan Moore (or any number of rabid fans) would likely shoot me on sight if he could.
Gaara-frenzy: Just bump into each other on the street. No, that's not likely. A, New York is HUGE dude or dudette. B, Yeah red hair is uncommon, but it's certainly not unheard of and even though Mercy does (sorta) know what he looks like, what would she do? "omg! Rorschach! How's your head?" pause "My you seem shorter..." *note: Rorschach wears special shoes to make him a bit taller than he normally is* Thank you for input, but no. I have other plans, which WILL work...one way, or another.
To anonymous reviewer Amy (and any other interested parties): AFF can be difficult to navigate. The story is under the same title. If you pm me or contact me via e-mail, I can attempt to send you the link along with step by step instructions for finding the story should the link not work.
Chapter 4 His Dreams and Nightmares
Dedicated to All You Patient Readers Out There
Rorschach leaves his face and clothes hidden in an alley a dozen blocks from the apartment rented out under the name of Walter Kovacs. His arrival home is thankfully uneventful. No shrill land lady greets him at his door. Perhaps small miracles do still happen, he thinks entering the messy room and locking the door behind him. It still pains him to breath and the dizziness lingers. He knows from experience, he should not go to sleep for some time yet.
The only clear space in the apartment is a small area of the table. A simple wooden chair is set in front of it. This small section of the table is kept clear for writing. After setting his journal and notes in that clear space, he seats himself at the table and begins going through the pieces of paper. Words blur and dance before his eyes making themselves illegible. Irritated by the uncooperative scraps of recorded thoughts, he sits back in the chair. His gaze drifts to the knob of his door. A dingy dirty thing that lost its shine years ago. The chair supporting him seems to soften. He leans forward on the table, resting his eyes for a moment.
Upon opening them, Walter stares at a dingy brass door knob. He stares transfixed, trying to grasp what is wrong. A moment passes. His mind takes hold of the answer; he is eye level with the doorknob. In an effort to comprehend why, he looks about. The hallway is one he knows. His mother's. He recognizes her voice on the other side of the door. "Oh, you're hurting me…mmm." Husky, full of lust, her voice fills him with a disgust that shakes his small frame.
A nameless man's heavy breathing is interrupted by his chuckling reply. "For what I'm paying, you can take it doll." They groan in unison. Grunts of effort interrupt panting breaths.
What can a child do to punish his own Mother's wickedness? Nothing. Walter glares at the door a moment longer before turning away from it. "You're hurting me." Pleadingly, a young woman's voice cries out. Immediately Walter turns back around. "Please." She is begging someone not to hurt her. He presses his ear to the door to better hear this other woman. "Jay, stop…" Angry, he pulls away from the door. His child sized hands grasp the dingy brass knob uselessly. Locked. He slams his shoulder against the door. Useless. The peeling paint taunts him. It looks so fragile. A cheap piece of wood with a dingy brass knob.
Again he hears her voice. Louder this time. "Jay. Stop. Please, stop." Teeth gritted, he fights again with the stubborn handle. Shaking it. Twisting it. Still it will not open. The sound of an open hand striking flesh paralyzes him. A cry of pain. No more pleading. Gasping sobs replace pleading words.
"You ain't got no call tellin' me to stop! Your fuckin' fault..." He continues to rant. More cries of pain punctuate his booming bass voice. He blames her with words. With fists. Frustrated, Walter turns away from the door. His eyes search for something to break the door down with. They find a familiar loose floorboard. Darting over to investigate it, he clenches his teeth against the sounds of continuing abuse in the other room. A child's fingers pry the board up quicker than a man's could. Within the dark recess, young Walter finds a mask of shifting black on white. Rorschach's face.
More than the mask lie waiting for him. With a sense of reverence and relief, he pulls the costume on piece by piece. All is quiet in the other room. Too quiet?
His body grows to fit the clothing. Fit his new face. My true face, Rorschach thinks. Turning around, he eyes the now much smaller door. Sprinting is unnecessary. He sprints anyways. The wood splinters all the easier under the impact of his shoulder. In the instant before he moves again, his eyes take in the scene before him. A tiny barren room. The only furniture, a bed. Jay's larger figure lies atop Mercy trapping her. Her hands are tied to the bars above her head. Tears track down from the corners of her shut eyes. Black eyes rise from Mercy's tear stained face to stare at Rorschach. Jay is a predator who suddenly finds himself to be the prey.
Rorschach does not pause to enjoy the other man's terror. An angry roar tears itself from his throat. He launches himself at the larger man. His momentum carries them both off the bed and to the floor. A brief struggle ensues. Jay winded and on his back stares up in terror.
"Please! Don't hurt him!" Mercy strains against her bonds to see them. "Please Rorschach! He was Drunk!" Sobbing, she begs him. Her voice softens. "It's my fault. I don't know what to do..."
Her fault? Walter thinks angrily. No. Not her fault. She is innocent. Merciful. An angel trapped in a world all but lost in hell.
Rage builds in him. Beats at his thoughts with each pounding heart beat until...finally, he can contain it no more. Savagely, repeatedly, he strikes with his fists. Left follows right and right follows left until his anger is spent. Satisfied for the time being.
What was once a face is now a pulpy scarlet mess. Somehow he still breathes. Each inhalation is a gurgle like drowning in shallow water. Each exhalation is a bubbling sputter of blood. With slow deliberation he grasps what was once a human's head. He twists. A loud crunching Snap marks the breaking of Jay's neck.
Mercy lies on the bed, quiet now. Rising to his feet, Rorschach pries off his blood soaked gloves. He tosses them to the floor. The look on her face is one of somber acceptance; identical to her expression in the alley. Walter notices her soft figure covered in fresh bruises. A very primitive part of him aches to touch her gently. To comfort and caress her. Rorschach prevents him by focusing on her bonds. Her wrists are pink with flesh chafed raw.
Freed of her bonds, Mercy sits up clutching her pink silk robe closed. Olive green eyes drift calmly to the bloody mess on the floor. She winces visibly looking quickly to Rorschach's face. Hesitantly her hand follows her gaze. Fingertips brush lightly against his face. She gazes at him wordlessly. Walter and Rorschach, both see the want in her eyes. The need to be close to another soul.
Just tonight. Just one night.
He's saved me…from horrible things.
I was just washing it off...it was bloody.
Guilt tortures him. What if she was telling the truth? Had he overreacted? Misunderstood her intent? A bruise is darkening on her cheek. She's a victim. Walter's heart aches to comfort her. Rorschach's stiff resolve holds him in check.
Her other hand rises to mirror it's twin. She is holding his face gently between her hands. Innocence is all but written on her features. A victim rather than a villain. Walter lowers himself to his knees. Silent, he kneels next to her. Her fingers drift down to find the edge of his mask. With slow deliberation she pulls it away. A trembling Walter Kovacs feels the confidence of his alter ego fade slightly. He feels more alone and less sure of himself.
Her hands settle on the bed as she leans forward. She stops, her lips nearly brushing his. The air she breathes moves gently across his skin. He realizes she is waiting. Letting him choose to kiss her or not. He wants to, but guilt holds him back. The scent of mint toothpaste feels his nostrils.
BAM! BAM! BAM! Three pounding knocks wake him abruptly. A loud female voice is screaming at him from the other side of his door. It reminds him of his mother. She is screaming about rent money.
Apology: Wow...really, I'm sorry for the long wait on this chapter. I appreciate everyone who's put up with waiting for so long and I hope you enjoyed the story so far. I got kinda burnt out on Watchmen after getting about half way through this chapter, then the mother of all writer's blocks kept me from working most of the summer. On top of that, my girl and best friend in the world moved really far away recently, so I've been really down in the dumps lately. Well, I have a rough idea for the next chapter. Suggestions are Welcome!
P.S.: I think my girl might be moving back in with me. I really hope so, but I'm not gonna hold my breath.
A/N: Short Version: Walter is Walter. Rorschach is Rorschach. However they think themselves to be more or less, the same person.
Long Version: I faced a dilemma of choice in this chapter. Since I've established the idea of Rorschach as two separate but co-existing personalities, I had to decide how far I wanted to push that idea. Do I make Rorschach and Walter each possess their own sense of self recognition? That level of dichotomy seemed too stringent, and simplistic, on top of which was the problem that there has never been any indication that Walter/Rorschach speaks to himself as two different people(Though he does consider his identity as Rorschach to be different from his "former" identity of Walter Kovacs "pretending to be Rorschach"). The alternative extreme was one personality assuming two identities, but that would be entirely inaccurate since it has been established in canon that Walter Kovacs originally saw himself as Walter masquerading as Rorschach, but eventually identified himself as Rorschach who hid behind the mask of Walter Kovac's face. At least, such is my understanding of the details.
Ultimately I settled on something which will probably continue to present me with horrible throbbing headaches until I finish this story off. Two personalities (personality being the sum of behavior, opinion, speech pattern, motivations, ect) both of which are under the impression they are the same person with a main identity (Rorschach) and an assumed identity (Walter Kovacs). So, that's the character's perspective, but in narrative I will maintain the theme of two separate personalities who are aware of each other and for the most part, in accord (they agree) with each other's goals and desires…emphasis on for the most part.
Next chapter will be dedicated to ArmoredSoul for the awesome-opposum idea of having Rorschach investigate Mercy. It's gonna be a bitch to write, I have no doubt, but it will (I hope!) be a very good read.
(Old post script) P.P.S. I LOVE my girlfriend!!! She bought me the reprinted omnibus of the Watchmen! ^_^ -extreme glee- ^_^