A/N: The following takes place while Laurie is on her way home from having dinner with Dan.
Disclaimer: I do not own Watchmen or any characters mentioned.
Black high heels clicked loudly as Laurie made her way home from dinner that night. Dan, being the gentleman he is, had offered to pay a cab to take her home, but she had politely refused and they parted ways in front of Rafael's. After the events of the past 24 hours, Laurie felt she could use a walk to clear her head, and it was still relatively warm for early October.
The Comedian was dead. It was still hard to comprehend. Not that Laurie had ever been a particularly big fan of the man. Hell, who was she kidding? She hated him. She didn't feel bad for him, not really. It was the mere fact that somebody could actually overpower a hulk of a man like The Comedian and throw him out a window that unnerved Laurie. She folded her arms tightly in front of her and cringed at the thought of dying in such a way.
Her thoughts then drifted to Jon, and the growing distance between them. Not a physical distance, of course, but mentally... It seemed like every day Jon was drawn further and further away from reality. He was trying to live in two worlds at once; his world consisting of tachyons and gluinos and whatever else she could never even begin to comprehend, and her world. This world. One would have to win over the other eventually.
And I'm losing. A bitter thought, but she was beginning to believe it more and more.
She forced her thoughts to move forward, away from Jon, and allowed herself to think about the good time she had earlier with Dan. He was such a genuine, nice guy. He'd offered to buy dinner, get her a cab home, and not once had she caught him staring at her chest during dinner. Actually, she realized, he didn't stare at any of her much at all. He mostly just glanced awkwardly around the room. She sighed, her shoulders slumping slightly at this.
Maybe it's not just Jon spacing out after all. Maybe I'm just that undesirable to men? She fingered the clasp on her black leather clutch as she pondered various reasons for this. Was she too muscular for a woman? Was her hair too plain? Had her costume been too revealing? Did they think her a whore now?
Laurie sighed as her mental list grew longer, and she turned the corner onto the next block to continue her journey home. Her black satin dress was beginning to ride up her thigh a little, so she tugged it back down, annoyed. With every step she took she could feel the beginnings of blisters forming on her feet and began to think it was a mistake to refuse Dan's polite gesture earlier. Just as she was contemplating whether it would be worth it or not to just walk the rest of the way barefoot, Laurie heard what sounded like a trash can hitting a wall, and the unmistakable sound of a human voice crying out in pain.
Yeah, this is just what I needed right now. Sore feet and blisters just aren't enough for one night, huh?
As silently as she could, Laurie crept up to the edge of the alley and quickly peeked around the corner. And just as quickly as she had leaned forward, she quickly pulled back, a large body flying from the darkened alley and narrowly missing her face. She stumbled backwards until her back met with the building behind her, and her jaw dropped when a mass of tan and purple leaped from the shadows onto the whimpering man in front of her.
Just as she shifted against the wall to move towards the struggle, the other man managed to kick Rorschach in the ribs, causing him to lose his balance and stagger backwards into the alley once more. The other man hurried back to his feet and Laurie barely caught the shine of a pocketknife flicking open before he too was engulfed in the shadows.
Now she was stuck. Should she jump in and try to help or not? Sure, Rorschach was an ex-adventurer like herself, but Laurie wasn't even sure what this squabble was over. For all she knew it could have been another product of one of his off-the-wall conspiracy theories. Her blood began to boil as his visit to the military base earlier that day replayed in her head. If that was the case, it was hardly any of her business, right? Besides, she was hardly dressed to fight appropriately, in a skin tight dress which barely allowed any leg movement.
Laurie could hear the fight still carrying on, and had nearly made up her mind to just walk away when she heard a much deeper shout come from the alley. This time, however, it was unmistakably Rorschach who had growled in pain. Finally, her conscience got the better of her and she rushed into the shadows, heels clacking furiously in her haste. Amidst the scuffling men, she could hardly make out who was who in the thick darkness. However, before her eyes could fully adjust, there was a sickening crack, a dull thud, and then silence. Laurie froze.
Christ, am I too late?
"Rorschach?" she tried gingerly. No answer. She once again moved towards the now still lump halfway down the alley. By now her eyes had adjusted to the darkness, and she saw the prone figure of the other man, face down on the gritty cement. Dead, she presumed. Just behind the lifeless man, another figure sat propped against the brick wall, knee's drawn up to his chest. His labored breathing was audible in the still night air, and she found it a little unnerving.
"Rorschach, is that you?" You creep, she added silently in her head. Of course she already knew the answer. She tip-toed over the dead man and cautiously made her way over to the masked one. "Hey, are you alright?" she tried with a little more force. He made an unidentifiable noise, but that was all he offered.
When she finally reached him, she stopped, unsure of what to do. Laurie looked down at him and nervously shifted her weight from leg to leg before finally deciding to kneel down slightly off to his side. His breathing was still very harsh, and from her new proximity she noticed it also sounded somewhat rattled.
"That guy had a knife," she went on. "Did he get you?" She nervously glanced down to her bare legs, and entirely uncomfortable with the situation, tugged the hem of her dress as far down as possible. The cement was already digging into her knees, and she knew they would be sore if she held her position much longer. When she looked back up, Rorschach lifted his head to look straight forward, his mask giving nothing away.
"Can manage." Not very specific, but it was enough that she could assume he had in fact been injured in some way.
"What the hell were you doing, anyway?" She recalled her earlier assumption it was about his ridiculous theory, and she hatefully continued. "What? Did you suspect he's apart of your mask killer theory?" Her sarcasm was nearly palpable.
"No. Was rapist," he grunted. Without looking at her, he finally let his legs slide to rest against the ground and began untying his coat and she noticed a small tear along the side. "Walking past alley, heard commotion. Scum had young woman pinned against wall. Needed to intervene." He pulled the coat back slightly, she presumed checking whatever wound he had received.
"Wow, that's..." Laurie trailed off, somewhat taken aback by what he told her. It was hard to imagine Rorschach as the White Knight type who rushed in to save helpless women. "That was really noble of you, actually." The surprise was evident in her voice. "What happened to the girl, then?"
"Ennk," was all he offered at first, most likely to the former part of her statement. Through the darkness she could see him unbuttoning the suit jacket he wore under his trench coat, a white undershirt revealed to be beneath that. "Ran when I pulled thug off her," he finally finished and jerked a thumb to the opposite opening of the alley, apparently the direction the girl had taken.
"Nice of her to stick around and say than--" The sarcastic comment died on her tongue when Rorschach pulled back the side of his suit jacket. A small section of his once white undershirt was stained a deep red, spreading from a gash in his side. "Jesus Christ, Rorschach!"
He made no effort to respond to her outburst, but instead pulled off a glove and reached down to lightly touch the wound, wincing slightly when he pressed a little too hard.
"Shit. That looks like you might need a few stitches..." she suggested, her eyes still wide with surprise. The gash clearly wasn't anything life threatening, but it was deeper than a normal cut, and who knows where that knife had been before. It could easily become infected if not taken care of soon, she realized.
"No, fine." And with that, he pulled off his remaining glove and reached up to untie his scarf. He pulled it off and flattened it out across his outstretched legs. Curious, Laurie silently watched his movements. It was strange seeing Rorschach without his scarf or heavy trench coat on. Although, she could remember a time, long ago when she first became a Masked Avenger, Rorschach didn't always seem quite so uptight.
Laurie's thoughts drifted back many years to the time Captain Metropolis had called a meeting to try to form The Crimebusters. Back then, Rorschach had seemed so normal. Well, as normal as any of the other masked heroes who ran around in costume. But Rorschach was intriguing, mysterious.
It had been hard not to stare at his fascinating mask. It made it difficult to concentrate on what Nelson was saying, something about promiscuity and drugs. And back then, his trench coat was always tidy looking and he didn't keep it tied tightly closed like he did nowadays, as if it kept his insides in place.
The way he spoke had changed, too, Laurie realized. She could remember him speaking up a few times during the meeting, and never once did he sound as he does now. His voice had been deep but soft, and he spoke in complete sentences. Now his voice was rough and his sentences clipped. Gone was the concerned young man she had observed all those years ago. In his wake he left only a vengeful, unfriendly shell.
Laurie wondered briefly what could possibly have happened to change him so drastically.
She was brought out of her reverie when she noticed Rorschach sliding completely out of his suit jacket. Once it was off, he flashed a quick glance her way before bowing his head to lift up his undershirt, but only enough to reveal the wound underneath. Clearly he was as uncomfortable with the situation as she was.
Rorschach lifted the scarf from his legs and leaned forward. He brought it around from his left side to wrap around his back and back up to his right, covering his injury. Laurie noticed him wince again as he worked, it clearly pained him to move.
She watched him clumsily try to knot the scarf to keep it in place and actually began to feel bad for him. It was clear he was exhausted as well as in pain. After another failed attempt at a knot, he slumped back against the wall, letting out a breath she didn't notice he had been holding. As he breathed heavily, his back against the wall, he reached up and lifted his mask to sit on the bridge of his nose. He greedily gulped down the fresh air with new ease.
Laurie noticed his hands were trembling slightly, and realized his adrenaline must still be fairly high. He would still need a few more minutes of rest before he would be capable of gathering himself, so to speak. However, she couldn't help but feel the need to get his wound covered as quickly as possible, before any other bacteria made its way into his bloodstream.
She took a deep breath before she firmly resolved to do what she knew had to be done.
Laurie quietly lay her clutch down next to her, reached forward and, avoiding as much contact with his body as possible, grabbed the two loose ends of the scarf to begin tying it over his wound. However, before she could finish, Rorschach shot a hand out to push her back roughly.
"Don't touch," he growled, sounding like a mix between annoyed and disgusted. "Can do it myself." Had she not been so taken aback she would have laughed at how childish he sounded. He began fumbling through another knot when Laurie recovered from her shock and crawled back over to him, angry now.
"Look here, asshole," she began hatefully, yanking the hem of her dress down to cover her legs once more as she kneeled beside him. "It's pretty obvious you are still high as a kite off that last adrenaline rush, so why don't you let me be nice to you for once in your goddamn life, and just let me do it!" She punctuated the end of her sentence by roughly shoving his hands away, and began tying the scarf again herself.
This time, it was Rorschach who was clearly shocked, and before he could object again, the scarf was tied securely around his waist.
"There. Now just sit tight for a few minutes until the adrenaline wears off and you can get yourself together." She sat back on her legs, satisfied with her job, and regarded the half-masked man in front of her.
He was clearly frustrated at the moment, and she couldn't quite blame him. Laurie was aware of how much he abhored any physical contact that didn't have to do with beating the life out of somebody. However, instead of releasing his frustrations verbally, like most people, he was completely silent, almost as if he was just ignoring her.
As if he read her thoughts, he reached into his pants pocket and pulled out a sugar cube, popped it in his mouth, and shoved the wrapper back in his pocket, all without sparing her a single glance. Laurie smiled inwardly at this and briefly wondered if he'd ever beaten anyone up for littering. And though she thought it was kind of funny, a small part of her also held a little respect for him for never compromising in his beliefs, no matter how outrageous they were.
Laurie silently studied him as he crunched noisily on his sugar cube. She could see clearly his defined cheekbones peeking out from just under his mask. Her eyes unconsciously traveled down to watch his strong jaw working away, and from there down to his toned arms which rested gently at his sides. She was surprised at how well defined his muscles were, as she had always assumed he was rather puny under his bulky coat. Now, however, she realized he was damn near comparable to Jon, only slightly smaller.
Her eyes moved back up to his face, where his mask remained resting on the bridge of his nose, and she began wondering what he looked like without it. She could see him having dark, brown hair and dark eyes. Everything else about him seemed dark, so it was only appropriate.
Laurie's eyes moved back to his mouth just as his tongue flicked out to lick away the last remnants of sugar. Instantly she couldn't help but be curious if he'd ever ran his tongue along someone else's lips, if he'd ever once had a girl? Not in the way men have a prostitute in a filthy alley, but in the way a young man is sweet on his pretty classmate, or the way Jon cared for her.
As soon as that last thought had crossed her mind, Laurie felt a wave of grief wash over her. Did Jon still care for her? Her head bowed, and she stared sullenly at her hands which rested in her lap, fingers playing lightly over the satin of her dress. She tried to recall the last time she truly felt connected with Jon, when they were kissing, when they were making love... Nothing. She felt nothing besides the energy that naturally poured from his body. Beyond that, there was nothing.
It was as if Jon was completely devoid of the deeper emotions that she felt for him. Didn't he feel anything for her in return? She was almost entirely convinced he did not.
Her breath hitched, and in an attempt to banish such depressing thoughts, Laurie once again lifted her eyes to watch Rorschach. He was still sitting quietly against the wall, and his breathing had calmed noticeably. Again, her curious eyes roved curiously over his exposed jaw, neck, arms, and the barely visible expanse of skin on his abdomen, just under the knotted scarf.
Laurie once again was reminded how closely Rorschach's body resembled Jon's, only more slight and compact. She suddenly had a terrible urge to run her hands over those muscles to see if he felt like Jon, too. She felt her chest tighten with grief again, and before she even had time to realize what she was about to do, she moved to straddle him and smashed her lips onto his.
It was evident Rorschach's eyes had been closed before Laurie had made her move, or he would have seen her coming from a mile away. However, she was certain she had taken him by surprise, and even took a little pride in the fact. It wasn't often people got the better of Rorschach.
The moment Laurie's lips had made contact with his, her hands immediately moved for his arms and explored all the way up to his cheeks. The dip and curve of his every muscle engraved itself in her memory. She immediately felt herself growing aroused, and moaned quietly onto his still-closed lips.
She had just flicked her tongue out to run along his bottom lip when Rorschach seemed to suddenly regain his senses. She felt his arms reach up behind her back, and she shivered in excitement, only to be disappointed when he pulled her roughly back by her shoulders, causing her to fall backwards onto the rough cement.
"Thought I said don't touch!" he hissed again, sounding angrier than Laurie had ever heard him. She looked up from her huddled position on the ground to see him yank his mask back over the exposed half of his face before he began struggling back into his suit jacket. Her head was still swimming with the memories of his tight, shapely muscles, the feel of stubble again her cheeks, and the lingering taste of sugar he left on her lips.
Then the gravity of the situation finally dawned on Laurie and she realized she had crossed a major line. The overwhelming need to cry bubbled up inside of her so fast, she could do nothing to stop it from overflowing.
As she sat in the grimy alley, legs pulled up beside her, Laurie burst into tears as she watched Rorschach sliding his trench coat on.
"Jesus Christ. Rorschach, oh god, I'm sorry," she gushed, unable to control what came out of her mouth. "I have no idea what I was thinking. It's just everything with Jon, and then Dan, and I just feel like nobody wants me or cares about me right now, and then I just couldn't help it, and oh god, I'm so sorry."
By now Rorschach was back in his trench coat and was using the wall behind him to help him stand again. Laurie stood quickly, again tugging her dress back down, and made to help him stand. She had only taken a step or two forward, however, before Rorschach shot a hand out to stop her, and she froze in her tracks.
After making it to a stand again, Rorschach began tying his coat closed. Laurie had managed to stop crying for the most part, with only a few hitched breaths here and there. He finally turned to regard her as he began pulling on his gloves, yet he still said nothing.
"I'm sorry," Laurie tried one last time, her voice barely above a whisper. Her eyes stared pleadingly at the masked man in front of her, begging him for forgiveness. She felt embarrassed, guilty, and rejected not only by Rorschach, but by Jon and Dan as well.
This really was just not her night.
A cool breeze blew through the alley, and she felt herself shiver as she knelt down to pick up her clutch. When she stood again, she spared one last look at Rorschach, and was about to turn and walk away when he finally spoke.
"Should wear more clothes," he spoke quietly. Her confusion must have been evident, and he continued. "Cold front. Rain on the way. Should go home now."
Laurie's jaw nearly dropped. After all that, all he did was give her a weather report? He didn't even seem angry anymore.
"That's it?" she asked, astounded. "No yelling, no fighting? You're not going to drop me down an elevator shaft when I least suspect it, are you?" She asked with a short sniffle. She could hardly believe he would let her off so easily after the stunt she had just pulled.
She heard him make a strange noise sounding vaguely like a snort, but decided she must have been hearing things.
"No. Now go home." He stood there, as if waiting to ensure she would follow his orders. She turned to leave, avoiding the dead body on the ground, but stopped short, remembering what started the entire ordeal in the first place.
"You'll get that cut stitched up, won't you?"
"Yes, can manage myself." Laurie, satisfied with his answer turned to walk away again, when surprisingly she was stopped by Rorschach's low voice.
"Miss Juspeczyk?" She turned to face him.
"Thank you." And with that, he turned and began walking in the opposite direction.
It took Laurie a moment to realize he was thanking her for bandaging up his wound and by the time she answered, he was halfway up the street.
"Yeah, no problem," she said to his retreating back, although she was sure he heard her. Deciding to follow Rorschach's advice, Laurie turned and began heading for the military base once more.
If either one of them ever thought about the incident again, they never mentioned a word about it.
A/N: Okay, this was my first foray into the Watchmen universe, so let's hope I didn't completely fail. I tried to follow the GN as closely as possible when it came to the characters, so let me know how I did!
If you found and spelling/grammar mistakes or just have any suggestions, let me know and I'll try to fix it!
Thank you for reading, and as always, reviews are much appreciated!