Beyond the Mirror - pre- novel Rorschach and Adrian Veidt

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

Rorschach grunted and struck out with his right fist. Taped knuckles sank into the shuddering white canvas, the chain that suspended it rattling as the punching bag served its purpose, absorbing blow after blow.

Beads of sweat dampened his brow and caused his workout clothes to stick wetly to his body.

His face and regular clothes were all stashed away inside of a locker labeled 104. He was alone, in the newly constructed gymnasium in Veidt's tower.

Despite his initial misgivings, Adrian's offer to allow him the use of this place was proving to be convenient. It was a good stress release, exorcising frustration through physical exertion. And keeping his body in shape gave him an edge.

He had to sneak up on a maintenance elevator, but in the weeks he'd been coming here, he'd never had any problems. He'd always had the place to himself.

The spacious room was full of modern equipment. It smelled clean, and the lighting was controlled by a series of switches that allowed him to adjust the brightness as he saw fit.

A thick purple mat covered the floor right up to the mirror lined walls. There were benches with stacks of soft white towels, charts with BMI calculators, a scale, a water cooler with clean cups, and a connecting shower and locker room.

Popping his knuckles, Rorschach turned and headed off in that direction.

Bypassing the showers and soap, he rubbed under his arms with a towel. Entering the combination to his locker, he retrieved his things. Dressing, he glanced up at his reflection in the mirror that ran the length of the locker room. Itching to replace his face, he sped up the awkward movements of pulling pants on over damp, unwashed shin.

As it so often did, his mind began to wander. Pulling his undershirt over his head, he thought back to the first time he'd come here.

The door was open when Rorschach arrived. Entering the room, with its stark white walls, he pushed it shut behind him.

His feet sank into the floor as he moved deeper inside. Veidt had said that he'd be there, but Rorschach didn't see him. Perhaps he'd just been delayed.

He didn't really need the other man there, anyway. Not if all he'd come here to do was look the place over.

The equipment appeared to be state of the art, probably worth a small fortune. He wrinkled his nose at a vending machine full of power bars.

The locker room had off-white tile from floor to ceiling, and as Rorschach moved inside, a toilet flushed and Veidt entered the room from a door leading off from one side. He was completely naked.

He walked with the confidence of a man without shame.

"Nrk!" Turning quickly, Rorschach presented his back to the naked man. The brief glimpse he'd gotten had been quite enough, and the fact that his body had been completely hairless had made it all the more obscene.

"Hello, Rorschach," he said, with his soft, overly polite voice. "I'm afraid I was in the middle of changing when nature called."

He sounded smug. Probably thought his embarassment was amusing. Wasn't.

Rorschach was uncomfortable enough for both of them. "Nice place you've got here." He filled the suddenly confined space of the room with his voice so he'd no longer hear the sound of rustling clothes.

"Thank you, I think so."

The form fitting clothing that Veidt wore for his workout was on par with his previous nudity, tight and thin enough to be considered indecent. His hair was held back with the simple expediency of a sweatband.

He demonstrated the new equipment, going through his entire workout with fluid grace, sweat adding a moist sheen to his skin. Muscles flexed, his breathing deep and controled, his lithe body efficiant and strong.

Afterward, he asked Rorschach if he wanted to come up to his rooms for dinner.

"No. Busy," he answered curtly.

With permission, Rorschach used the gym a couple nights a week.

He made a point of not being there when Veidt was.

Condensation rolled, leaving wet trails down the mirror as Rorschach finished getting dressed. He reached for his face, and a quick series of images flashed through his mind. Terrible things, blinking passed his vision like a strobe light, things he'd seen and done. Moving closer to the mirror, he tried to focus.

As he began to pull his face down over the top of his head, his eyes narrowed. The mirror was funny up close. If you ignored the reflection, it was pretty obvious that what he was looking at was a two-way mirror.

Rorschach ran a gloved hand across the surface, then turned, leaving the room with angry strides. A moment later he returned, hefting a 10-pound hand weight. Tossing it easily into the mirror's center, he revealed a small darkened room. A video camera looked back at him, and against the wall was a shelf containing row after row of video tapes.

Reaching in, he extracted the camera. The tape inside was labeled "Rorschach". Smashing the camera against the tile floor beneath him, he stuck the tape inside his coat. He'd burn it in an alley somewhere later.

First, he needed to find Veidt.

A/N: As always, I never beta my work, so please speak up if you have any critique, or spot something that looks wrong.
A belated birthday gift fora friend who wanted Rorschach and Adrian, with the prompt: 'suspicion'.
This doesn't really feel finished to me. Perhaps I shall work on the confrontation scene later on. I just... couldn't write any slashy smut for this pairing right now. I feel almost like one or both of them would have had to end up out of character in order for me to pull it off. I suppose the unfinishedness can be a good thing: now you can imagine what you want. XD
Anyway, I hope this ended up original and at least mildly entertaining. Reviews are love. :3