Fritter and Waste- Nite Owl (Hollis Mason)/Silk Spectre (Sally Jupiter), 1940.

Disclaimer: All characters, etc. from the novel WATCHMEN belong to Alan Moore and DC.

The photographer arrived at 8pm, as promised, and as all the Minutemen lined up to pose for the camera, Hollis found himself unable to smile.

He was edgy, nervous. Tonight was the night. He'd been trying to build up the courage to ask Sally out, and after tonight's meeting, he was determined to talk with her privately, and at least take a step toward building something with her. He knew her true identity, everyone did, but like most of the others in the group, Hollis hadn't given his real name out to anyone yet. He was hoping to share that part of himself with Sally, first.

Since the moment he'd first laid eyes on her, he'd been captivated. Hell, so had the rest of the world, he supposed. But somehow, despite her friendly nature, she'd always seemed so unapproachable. Regardless of her penchant for swearing and drinking, it was obvious that Sally came from a higher class of people than Hollis was used to, and even in these enlightened times, that kind of thing mattered. Hollis came from a long line of working-class men who valued a good day's wage for an honest day's work. Sally needed someone who could take care of her, she deserved someone who could give her a helluva lot more than he could.

Then, of course, there was Hooded Justice. Hollis respected and liked the mysterious other man, he'd been the first, paving the way for all of them. And since the last year's Minutemen Christmas party, he and Sally had been involved in some kind of relationship.

Publicly, they'd gone on record as "seeing each other". Sally was always dangling from the big man's arm for photos, or whenever a crowd gathered. The crazy thing about it, was that Hooded Justice never seemed to give Sally a second look. And boy, was she a looker.

Take away the media and the eyes of the public, and things were more than strange between the pair. The big man's tendency to ignore Sally's presence became reciprocated, as she fairly ignored him in turn. She shared a camaraderie with Hollis and most of the other men, brushing hands, and sweet smiles, that seemed to be lacking between her and the man she was "seeing". Hollis wasn't sure if it was due to problems in their relationship, but he told himself firmly that it was more than time he found out.

The flashbulb activated, sending little bright spots dancing across Hollis's vision. The moments passed by in a blur of nervousness as he paid the photographer, ordering nine prints, one for each of them, as well as a spare to put on display in the meeting room.

As everyone prepared to leave, Hollis decided to buy himself a little more time by offering to treat them all to beers at his favorite bar. Sally balked at the idea of going out in her costume. It was a very cold night, and since her identity was a matter of public record, she asked them all if they could wait while she changed.

Heading down the staircase to the lobby with the others, Hollis began to mentally piece together what he was going to say to Sally at the bar. Hopefully, after a few bottles of liquid courage, he'd be able to dive right in. He'd ask her to dinner. The station's newly formed baseball league was having a game and a picnic in the park this upcoming Saturday. Perhaps a more laid back setting would be a better place to start. There'd be less pressure. On her, on him...

"Hmph. Where the hell is Blake?" Hooded Justice asked next to him. He had a deep, commanding voice. He didn't speak very often, and whenever he did, it was always slowly and delibrately. Almost like Mickey, one of Hollis's childhood friends. Mickey had been taught to think of what he was going to say in its entirety before he spoke, which, remarkably, helped him overcome a rather pronounced stutter. The result was always a slower, more clear way of speaking. Hollis speculated that perhaps Hooded Justice could be hiding a similar habit, or an accent, or maybe he just liked having the ability to make those around him really listen when he talked.

His words registered and Hollis quickly looked around the group. Nelson was there, and Byron, the Silhouette, and Dollar Bill. Blake was conspicuous in his absence.

Hooded Justice turned and began walking purposefully back toward the staircase.

Visions flashed through Hollis's mind, of Sally innocently looking about the meeting room as Nelson spoke this evening, while Blake's eyes slid all over her provocatively dressed form. Hollis had never liked the younger man. He had no ethics, and it was clear that he saw Sally as just an object to be possessed and discarded.

Feeling his chest tighten in fear, Hollis ran after the bigger man, up the stairs, and down the hall to the trophy room. He was just in time to see the large man push open the the door.

His heart pounded so loudly in his ears that Hollis couldn't make out any of Hooded Justice's outraged shouts. He entered the room, afraid to look, afraid to see what had been happening in here while he'd been wrapped up in his own thoughts.

What he saw made him want to puke. Hooded Justice had grabbed Blake by the collar, and was now beating his face with a gloved fist. It was glaringly obvious that the younger man's belt was loosened, his yellow trousers sagging down to reveal the upper curves of his bare ass. Sally lay with her upper body stretched across the pool table that dominated the room, in a state of dishabille that shocked and scared Hollis. Her boot clad legs appeared to have been kicked roughly apart, but thankfully, she still wore her underwear.

Angry words were exchanged between the two other men, and Hollis turned in time to watch Blake regain his feet.

"Get out." Hooded Justice said flatly.

Smirking in disgust, Blake left, straightening his clothes as he went.

Hollis was startled when the remaining man turned to Sally, saying only, "Get up. And for God's sake, cover yourself," before he angrily left the room as well.

Rushing to Sally's side, Hollis felt his heart twist as he got a good look at her face. She was crying, her carefully applied mascara running in trails onto her cheeks. Her lipstick had been smeared far enough that he could tell she'd been kissed, and beneath it all was a split lip and a myriad of nasty cuts and bruises.

She started to sob as he helped her stand, leading her to one of the room's padded chairs. She didn't speak, just cried, and to Hollis, it sounded as if part of her soul had been damaged. He felt angry and helpless. Looking wildly about the room, he spotted a tissue box. She clung to his hand as he tried to step away, so he told her, "I won't leave you. Let me help you dress."

He returned with her overcoat, helping her to carefully slide her slender arms into the sleeves. Using a tissue, he softly wiped away her tears, blotting gently at the blood about her mouth and nose. There seemed to be so much of it.

"I need a first aid kit," he said to her when he'd done all he could. Helping her stand, he saw her wince, holding onto her sides. "Jesus. You might have some broken ribs. We need to get you to a hospital."

"No," she said firmly, speaking for the first time. "I just want to go home."

The others, with the exception of Hooded Justice, were all gone when they got downstairs. The big man said nothing, just watched silently as Hollis led Sally outside to the waiting car.

Opening the door, he helped her get in. "He won't get away with this, Sally."

She smiled weakly up at him, giving his hand a squeeze before she spoke to her driver. "Home," she said.

Closing her door, Hollis watched the car pull away. She'd looked so sad. So empty and cold. How could this have happened? Right under their noses, them, who fought for justice and all that was good and right in the world.

He turned, intent on telling Hooded Justice that he didn't want the Comedian to be part of the group anymore. The big man had acted rather bizarre, but everyone dealt with trauma in their own way. But to his surprise, the other man was gone.

A/N: I intended to write something sweet or smutty involving Sally and Hollis after I watched "Under the Hood" for the first time. They hint at something sweet there that isn't really in the book. But when I actually sat down to write the thing, this was what came up with. Blame it on my OTP Sally/The Comedian, or maybe it's just Hollis's role as the naive and least messed up of all the Watchmen characters. I just... couldn't have him behave as anything but a gentleman, and somehow I ended up writing a story about heartbreak and lost chances. Ack, I'll try again one of these days.
I never beta my work, so if you spot something loopy, feel free to speak up.
This is movie-canon-ish. Hollis does smile in the book's Minutemen photo, and he also isn't present after the rape attempt, which involves the floor instead of a pool table. Again, I go back and forth between the book and the film, and keep what I like from each. And I really like how serious he ended up looking in the film's photo.
Also, the title of this is from Pink Floyd's 'Time'.