NOTE: This is a story set in present day. Jon brings Rorschach back to life and sends him to a corrupt world in which there is "more shadow than substance" in everyday life. There he must find his unlikely ally who will help him to bring Adrian- and a corrupt government- to justice.

1. Creation

It is almost time. The clocks are ticking, ticking, ticking life away, life, which is in my hands. The clocks down on Earth, the ones that show different times in different areas of the planet, and yet they all document the dying breaths of humanity. Five minutes.

I have never been closer than I am right now. I know this is the moment. The past few months of tireless creation, building up the atoms, making sure everything fit into their right places, like a jigsaw puzzle...everything was for this moment. Four minutes and twenty-two seconds.

Is this what it would have felt like, I wonder, when the Christian's God created the world out of light? When the Hinduist's Purusha was sacrificed to create the sky and the earth, the sun and the moon? When the Greek's Gaea emerged from the black emptiness of Chaos? Three minutes and fifty-five seconds.

No. I am indulging in meaningless fantasies. The human race's diverse approach to their own existance never fails to baffle me, and while I am fascinated with the reasons behind their strange and wonderful stories, it is also equally not important. Three minutes and fourteen seconds.

The form under my hands is finally taking shape. The atoms buzz under my fingertips, the cell strata glowing in little bursts of blue light. The air around me shimmers and pulses with electricity, warm for once. Two minutes and thirty-five seconds.

It is symmetrical. I wonder at its beauty as it morphs and curls in on itself, then flowers out and furls in again. It is becoming solid. The fluctuations are slowing, the light growing dimmer. Two minutes exactly.

I have hardly known life to be this breathtaking. More than the mountains behind me, more than the vast, red deserts around me, more than the cold, glittering stars above me, this new life is beautiful. I have made it out of these very mountains, the deserts, the stars though, of course, we are all, in the end, the children of stars. One minute and five seconds.

In a matter of weeks, there will be a meeting. I see them now, their eyes alight with recognition, their actions wary. They speak with words that bring about deja vu, nearly formless echoes of a past that has yet to come for one of them, and a future that one could argue doesn't exist for the other. Twenty-seven seconds.

Nothing ends. Nothing ever ends. There was a time when I thought life might end. I think everyone thought that at the time. But this universe is vast, just a great, endless ocean, in which we are forever swaying on the waves, tossed and turned by eternity. There will always be life. Whether in the greatest man on Earth or the smallest molecule on Mars. Humans are arrogant to assume that Earth is the only planet with living organisms on it. Five seconds.

Four...

Three...

Two...

One...

This moment lives forever in time and space. It is a fingerprint, a small blip on the universe's radar, that will inevitably echo through eternity.

I am proud. I haven't felt pride in a very long time. It is vague and blurry, almost like trying to read print on a newspaper that has sat and withered for fifty years under a coffee table.

He stands there, breathing in the small bubble of oxygen I have created for him, breathing and glaring at me with eyes I have never forgotten. Eyes that stared balefully at me in a snowbound world. Ice blue trapped in a vortex of snow-cold white.

In the small space between us, I can feel his heartbeat. It is warm and so very vital. I can almost touch it.

"What...what am I doing here?" he finally demands, sounding breathless, as though his lungs can't master the constant influx of air yet. I wonder briefly if I haven't made him strong enough, but his heartbeat is strong and steady, pounding effortlessly in his chest, and I know that he will manage.

"You are alive," I tell him.

He glares at me; there is distrust in his eyes. "I can see that," he snaps impatiently. "Why am I here? What is this? Why do you look familiar?" He assaults me with questions. His personality is much the same and yet... In a matter of minutes, he will put on a mask. Three hours later, he will take it off. His personality differs considering these factors, his actions and reactions changing depending on the face he is wearing.

In making him, I had hoped to make him as much like his old self as possible. But, in making the separation between his personas I might have made it more distinct than before. Hmm. A small mistake, a slip on my part... But then, there are no mistakes. This was supposed to happen. An inconsequential slip.

"You are here because I created you. You are on Mars but in five minutes and thirty-three seconds you will be on Earth. I look familiar because you once knew me," I answer, following the guidance of the puppet strings. Talking to them is much more difficult than they make it look...

Then again, he isn't totally human.

His brows pull together in puzzlement. I watch the tiny muscles in his face work like they should and the dusty pride comes back. "How did I know you before? Who are you?"

"They call me Dr. Manhattan. You existed before this, but I had to destroy you in 1985. Now you must return to Earth," I tell him.

He will not have memories, not of his former life. Not until he is meant to remember. But perhaps a few hints will be necessary. He is still new, fresh, like candle wax that has just started to cool. My imprint has not left him. I still have some access to his being. Reaching out, I tap into his mind. It is like a highly sophisticated labyrinth, with doorways that lead to chambers I can't even delve into. Still, I can hand him the keys to unlock the doors.

He feels me in his mind. He lets out a low growl deep within his chest and it is almost inhuman. And then he blinks, startled, as a few memories start to leak out, slowly dripping down, like liquid visions of a past that has been barred from him.

I watch him, analyzing the expressions that cross his face. Shock. Recognition. Sorrow. Anger. Pain.

And then his teeth come together with a loud snap, rattling his jaws. His blue eyes blaze with a fire I recognize from his former life. "Veidt," he snarls. He spits the name out like it's dirty, like it's something he'd rather not have to say. The hatred that pulses from him is familiar.

He looks up at me, eyes still smoldering with rage, and asks, "What happened after you killed me?" So blunt. Not like other humans, who feel they need to be polite, who feel everyone's feelings must be accounted for, who feel they must check their words before they say them so as not to offend others. This one is different.

"Adrian succeeded in his plan for a global utopia. Individual countries have formed governments akin to socialism and elite powers are discussing plans for a world government," I tell him.

The rage in his eyes grows, building up into an inferno that threatens to swallow everything combustible. His voice when he next speaks, however, is quiet. "No one trying to stop him?"

Clipped sentences. He has become the other person. I take a moment to wonder at this anomaly, that he can switch from one dominant personality to another, both ruling over the same body at the same time, battling for power. A constant struggle rages inside of him. I have sensed this before in his other life. But then, it had been obvious which personality had ruled him, his thoughts, actions, responses- this person glaring at me now had. The other person had been eaten up, swallowed by the fire in this person's eyes.

Now, the two personalities live inside of him at the same time, constantly struggling to obtain complete control of their host.

"That's why I am sending you to Earth," I explain. No more than a second has passed while I've considered the demons battling inside him. "There is someone you must find, someone important to the future of your home planet. Your pathway has been laid out for you. Now it is time to start walking."

He stares at me, the fire still burning in the depths of his gaze, yet shadowed by something else. Uncertainty, distrust. This does not surprise me. "You will need clothes before you return," I tell him.

He looks startled, as though he hasn't noticed until now that he is naked. A red flush creeps into his face. I study this curiously. It has long puzzled me why humans are so uncomfortable with nudity. They are born naked; I recreated myself naked. Maybe it is something I will never fully understand.

At my side, I form his clothes. These are easy now, these inanimate objects. Child's play. I have created life. I can only move forward from here.

He snatches his clothes from me and quickly pulls them on. When he turns to me, his expression is impatient. "Well?"

"There is one more thing you will need, but you must be careful when you use it," I warn him; I feel it's only fair. In some ways, I feel responsible for him now. It is irrational and serves me no purpose, but...he is my creation.

I hand him the mask. It is still, the black splotches waiting for the heat of their owner to warm them, get them flowing again. He stares at it, blinking in amazement, as though he has just been reunited with a long lost friend. After a brief pause, he slips it on and his blue eyes disappear. "Why should I be careful when I wear it?" he challenges.

"You are supposed to be dead," I reply immediately.

He seems to flinch slightly at my words. I feel his heartbeat stutter in his chest. He lifts his hands up to look at them; I see them tremble just slightly. "I'm supposed to be dead," he repeats in a low voice.

Fifteen seconds. Time is running out. The puppet strings are pulling at me, moving my mouth, telling me what to say.

"Remember," I tell him. "You search for the one who stands alone."

Then, in a flash of blue light, he disappears.

~ Okay, so. I understand this may have been a bit slow, but I promise it will pick up. I hope against all hope that this isn't stupid or anything. Suggestions and helpful criticism are welcome, flames just make me laugh. Oh, and just to let you know in case you didn't figure it out, Rorschach will be Rorschach with his mask on, Walter will be Walter when its off. If that makes sense...well, in any case, you can read to find out more if I just sound like I'm babbling. :) Please, reviews are wonderful because I would like to know if I should continue. Thanks.