I like all sorts of Watchmen pairings, but there doesn't seem to be enough straightforward Dan/Laurie, or straightforward Dan-admitting-his-friendship-with-Rorschach-is-weird. And I firmly believe they had this conversation.

My apologies to Alan Moore for all the indignities heaped upon you by the popularity of your work; if I admit that these were originally your characters, will you please not send your mighty snake god after me?


Dan feels guilty for being glued to the television as talk show hosts dissect every aspect of the newly unmasked Rorschach's life. Rorschach would not appreciate it. Would see it as a betrayal, even if his plan with Laurie to bust him out works and they save him from having to personally beat up every criminal in the New York City corrections system. Not that Dan doubts he would win, eventually, but he feels sorry for the perps. And the guards. And the psychiatrists.

He should be catching up on sleep or going over the plan again, or even going through a last-minute workout with his much more diligent girlfriend.

But he is going to burst at the seams from curiosity if he isn't allowed a glimpse at this enigma he called a partner, and in an odd way still calls a friend.

Laurie emerges from the shower, toweling off her hair. "So, found anything else about your buddy?"

"Well, I just realized at the last commercial break that I've seen that face before. A crazy hobo on this street with a sign saying, 'THE END OF THE WORLD IS NIGH' – he's been hovering around every time I go anywhere for years." He adjusts his glasses and lets out a baffled but not precisely resentful laugh. He wonders if this is the closest the monumentally fucked-up man can get to expressing affection.

Even with her hair stringy and wet, she's beautiful, fit for a god. She's dressed in his old sweats and college T-shirt, too, which no girl has done the morning after for more than twenty years. She's even trying hard to understand, which may be the sexiest thing of all. "You know, it's creepy, but given that…you know, how you're the only person who…puts up with him…it's kind of sweet. Too bad for him that we have to wait until dark."

"Yeah. Best chance of success that way." He takes another sip of coffee and reaches for her hand. Their fingers interlace.

She turns her attention to the screen and gives a baffled laugh of her own. "A tailor?"

Dan shrugs. "He was always very neat when he sutured me up. Tiny stitches."

"But – but…"

"I guess that explains how he got ahold of the weird fabric for his mask."

"I'm sorry; I'm just imagining him attacking buttonholes. Flinging Singer machines. 'Hrm. Suspect this fabric not one hundred percent cotton. Communist conspiracy to make people's clothes dissolve and lead to massive orgies? Must investigate further.'" Her remarkable success at imitating Rorschach's growl, despite her female voice, and her mimed, furious sewing motions make Dan dissolve into hysterics.

"Oh God…Laurie…Laurie…stop…"

"He's going to kill me…" She's clutching at her stomach, laughing so hard that her entire body shakes.

"He's going to kill both of us…"

"Maybe that's why he wears that nice suit…well, it must have been nice once…"

Dan calms down and takes a deep breath. "We're never going to tell him about that exchange, okay?"

She shakes his hand. "Got it. Sorry I did that. I mean, the poor guy. Child abuse, poverty…"

"No wonder he thinks all women are whores."

"Mmm. I can almost forgive him." She runs her fingers through Dan's hair. "I hope you don't get mad at me for asking, because I've really been trying to figure it out."

"Ask away."

"Why – before you knew all this, when all you knew was a terrifying, socially inept critic of everyone and everything, why did you – I mean how did you stand him? I think all of us were glad that you kept him in check, but none of us knew why you put up with him, especially after he really went off the deep end." Her words are soft and without judgment, and it is only because of this that Dan feels comfortable answering.

"Are you a cat person?"

"I like cats, sure."

He strokes her fingers gently as he talks. "If you've ever gotten a cat that doesn't like people to like you, you'll know how privileged that makes you feel. And Rorschach, for all his faults, was the most loyal and courageous partner anyone could ask for. I could tell he hardly could stand anyone himself. But he was…he was willing to move heaven and earth to make sure I was okay…and I knew he would never let me down. I was the one who let him down."

Laurie moves to her feet and puts her arms around him, resting her chin on his shoulder, like a loose hug. "You were sensible, Dan. He went so far away from 'sensible' that you couldn't follow him anymore."

"I hope so. Anyway, we're going to make it up to him. Thank you for going along with it."

"You're welcome, Dan."

As they kiss, Dan feels his way for the remote control so he can turn the TV off for now.