Chapter One Title: Order of Operations
Hi, this is Twelve. This is my first Watchmen fanfic. It's Ror/Dan slash set in a Xanthe-esque BDSMverse. If you're not familiar with it, it's a verse where BDSM is standard practice. Everyone is separated into their station at an early age. This is determined by personality. An Alpha is a completely Dominant person. A Beta is a mostly Dominant person. An Omega is a Submissive person. Some people are Switches, which means they go back and forth. It's rarer in the BDSMverse than it is in our universe. In this verse, homosexuality is neither here nor there.
Another thing. I am picking and choosing which details I want from the Movie and which I want from the GN. Ror has blue eyes and was born in 1950 in this fic. Deal with it.
I don't own Watchmen
The rain poured off the end of the abandoned subway tunnel. The weather had gotten warmer and now the flurry of snow had turned to a chilly drizzle. In the mouth of the tunnel stood a tall man. He didn't lounge against the cold brick walls, but shifted from foot to foot. His broad shoulders were hunched against the cold and anxiety that washed over him. Nite Owl adjusted his cape and watched the rain. The snow that had built up that morning was slush now; it would all be ice before morning, once the cold of night took back over from the warm afternoon.
A shadow detached itself from the darkness a few feet to his left. "Standing out in the open. Not safe." He tried not to jump when Rorschach made himself known, but his partner had probably seen it.
"Let's patrol," Nite Owl said. He looked at the state of his partner's trousers. They were wet almost to the knee. Trudging through this slush was easier for Nite Owl, with his longer stride and higher boots. "You're soaking wet."
"Am fine." Rorschach had a deep, gravelly voice. Sometimes Nite Owl wondered what it sounded like when he was just his normal self. Most of the Watchmen seemed to have a different tone to their voice when they were in their masks. Nite Owl himself had a slower, more authoritative voice when he was in uniform while Dan Dreiberg, his alter-ego, was much more soft-spoken. But then, Dan was a Sub in his daytime life. Nite Owl was an Alpha. Well, a Beta for sure. That was something he had never had to wonder about when it came to his partner: Rorschach was definitely an Alpha. No doubt about it. It was clear from the way he beat punishment into the criminals they fought every night. His alter-ego was surely just as aggressive and dominant.
Patrol went smoothly for the first couple hours. They put down a gang of Cx3's that had been getting too aggressive lately. Nite Owl watched his partner take down a man at least a foot taller than him and then hold him down with one boot pressed against his spine and the man's left arm wrenched up while the little vigilante snarled something into his ear. From across the alley he couldn't hear what Rorschach was saying, but the gang leader's frightened, "No, please, no, I'm sorry!" drifted over to where he was daisy-chaining fallen gang members to a fire-hydrant with zip ties. There was a wet crack when Rorschach smashed the guy's face into the curb. Nite Owl helped him drag the guy over into the heap of gangsters by the light pole.
He saw it first when one of the gangsters' eyes flicked open. He brought his boot up hard into Rorschach's lower back. Nite Owl stared in horror at the bloody blade sticking out of the guy's boot. Before his partner could whirl and punish the guy, Nite Owl's foot had slammed into his jaw, snapping his head back.
"Geeze!" he hissed. The blade was at least two inches long and he'd landed a good, solid hit. "That guy was just playing possum."
Rorschach groaned. His fists were balled in the pockets of his trench. There was a slick of wetness dripping down his back where the coat was sliced open. "You're bleeding pretty bad. Let's get back to HQ and pack that."
Back at the Nest, Nite Owl noticed a definite deliberateness in the other man's steps. When Dan pulled his cowl back and his goggles off, Rorschach looked away, just like every time. He stalked around the chair where Dan had seated himself with the first aid kit. "I can't help if you don't sit down." Rorschach shook his head, making another circuit around the kitchen table.
'Why doesn't he ever make it easy to help him?' Dan wondered. He was getting sick of this behavior. 'Go away, Don't leave me.' Granted, Rorschach had never actually asked for help, but why walk all this way and then make it difficult for Dan to do anything? He wouldn't sit down, and once Dan had talked him into that, he wasn't going to want to take his coat off, so Dan could actually LOOK at the wound. Dan ground his teeth.
"Rorschach! Sit DOWN!"
Rorschach's mask shifted in that way that Dan had come to associate with surprise. He pulled a chair out and threw himself into it.
"Take the coat off." Rorschach untied the belt of his coat and shrugged out of one shoulder at a time. Underneath he was wearing that pinstripe three-piece. "That one, too, and the waistcoat." Dan pointed at the suit coat with the suture pliers. Rorschach looked down and pulled off his coat, folding it over the next kitchen chair and then added his waistcoat. His hand smoothed it down, touching the bloody hole in the rear left panel. Faced with further layers, Dan considered ordering him to remove those as well, but instead he just waved at them with the pliers. Rorschach raised his head and looked up at him, eyes burning through the mask. Dan spoke in his measured, Nite Owl voice. "Pull your shirts up so I can have a good look."
There was a hint of hesitation, this time, but he untucked the button down shirt and his undershirt and pulled them up high enough to give Dan access to the wound. As Dan inspected the wound, he noticed the strange quality of the blood. He leaned down for a better look. Rorschach went stiff, then leaned away. "Hold still," Dan growled. He smelled the wound. It was hard to tell past the normal scent coming off Rorschach's skin, but he thought something was unusual.
Some of the other Watchmen, Silk Spectre II in particular, had made comments about the vigilante's odor, but none of them were there every night to see the progression of Rorschach smelling like chicken grease because he'd been knocked against a poorly secured barrel of fryer grease outside a KFC, and then the next week, as that smell faded, they had a case that had them army-crawling through a fish market on the docks, and then, there were the cases that led them through the sewers. It wasn't as though Rorschach could get his uniform dry-cleaned, it was too distinctive. So Dan, of all the others, understood and accepted the odor as a part of the pros and cons of working with the shorter, fiercer, mask. Many more pros than cons.
"Relax, I'm just trying to see if your kidney has been punctured." If possible, Rorschach stiffened even more at this. Dan touched the blood leaking from the wound. There was nothing odd seeming about it. Normal consistency. He smelled it again. "No, I think it's ok. I'm gonna stitch this up..." He stopped himself. He had been about to ask if that was ok, but so far, giving orders had been more effective than asking permission ever had.
Then he realized what he'd done. He'd given Rorschach orders. And the other man had responded. Had...obeyed. Dan ran that through his mind as he began to suture the wound. As he proceeded, it was increasingly difficult to keep a stupid-happy grin from crossing his face. He finished and taped on as small a gauze pad as he thought he could get away with. He brushed his fingers across the edges of the tape, making sure it was secure on all sides.
"Too much touching, Daniel." Rorschach growled. He turned and saw the bemused look on Dan's face. "What?"
Dan's eyes traveled up his partner's body to his ever-shifting mask as the other man pulled his shirts back down and tucked them into his trousers. "Rorschach." A silly, half restrained grin crossed his face. He had decided to present this information in a logical sequence, which his partner, as a detective, would have to accept. Evidence. "I told you what to do."
He pulled on his waistcoat, suit jacket and trench. "Are an Alpha, Nite Owl. Give orders to criminals and innocents all the time." He tightened his coat belt and pushed his hands into his pockets.
Dan stood and moved towards the door to the basement. "You did what I told you."
"Was bleeding, allowed treatment, couldn't reach wound." He stared at Dan levelly through the fascinating mask.
"Rorschach...why didn't you ever tell me you're a Sub?"
His partner's head dropped and he took half a step towards the basement, realized Dan had it pretty well covered and turned towards the door to the front hall. Before he could zip through it, Dan lunged forward and grabbed his arm. Rorschach exploded.
"LET GO!" The heel of his right hand slammed into Dan's chest and he twisted his arm, trying to wrench it free. His knee came up and slammed into Dan's thigh, in the weak point just between the protective cup and the Kevlar on the front of his thigh. Rorschach was at least a head shorter than Dan, and his dominant arm was being held in a vice-grip, but he struck out as fast as lightning with his right hand, targeting the joints in Dan's armor, but not in ways that would cause permanent damage. It was clear he was holding back. Dan's hand came up and stopped Rorschach's other hand from the rapid strikes against his unprotected face.
"Answer me!" He pressed his partner back against the wall. "And stop that, right now."
Rorschach jerked to a halt, head down, Dan could feel his pulse fluttering in his wrist, breath coming in slow, controlled drags. He waited for the answer to his question.
"Never tested. Always assumed was an Alpha." The infuriating way he phrased it left the interpretation open as to whether it had been Rorschach who assumed he was an Alpha, or the people around him.
Dan looked down at him and his mind whirled. "Everyone gets tested."
It clicked, then. In the same way that Nite Owl had never gotten officially tested, because he was an Alter-ego Dan had acquired after he'd entered adulthood, Rorschach had never been taken to a testing center and evaluated as to his personality and station in life. Whoever was under the mask had, but that didn't have a bearing, as Dan well knew.
Rorschach groaned. His voice was tight with strain. "Trusted you, Daniel. Betrayed me."
A stab of unbearable agony shot through Dan's belly. "There is nothing wrong with being a Sub, Rorschach. I'm not going to tell anyone. I'm certainly not going to hurt you..."
"Weak, should be strong."
Did he really believe that? That being a Submissive was weakness? Well, of course Rorschach would think that following orders was...but, then, it wasn't...Anyone who had experience with a good Dom would never...But that was the crux of the issue, wasn't it? "You've never been allowed to be a Sub, have you?" Daniel asked.
Rorschach made an agonized noise and tried to pull away again. "Will never be degraded that way."
Dan literally gaped. He mouthed the word degraded. "A Dom doesn't degrade his Sub. He makes his Sub stronger. He offers training and discipline and..." He had almost said 'love,' but that would be the quickest way to lose his audience. "And partnership. You have never degraded me..."
He jerked like Dan had slapped him. "Am NOT your Alpha, Daniel. Would never." He made another desperate noise.
"Would never, what? Trust me to obey you? We've worked together for years, and you've always been the lead."
"Not the same. Never gave orders. Suggestions. Never put you in..." His voice cracked. "Subspace." He spat the word and Dan's face twisted.
"Have you ever even been in Subspace? How can you damn something you've never experienced?" His face softened. Rorschach had a hard time trusting people. As far as Dan knew, he didn't even have a family at home. He didn't even trust the other Watchmen. He didn't even trust Dan with his identity, even though Dan had shared his years ago. No one knew he was a Sub. A Sub who had never experienced the joy of Subspace. A thrill of horror ran through Dan's body. To be denied that unparalleled level of trust and safety... "Don't you ever want to feel it?"
"Have been in Subspace, Daniel. Betrayed."
Dan realized that Rorschach had used the same word a few moments before, when he'd exposed him as a Sub. Realized that he was even now crossing the line into his partner's carefully cultivated personal space. "I'm going to let you go, but Don't Move." He dropped his wrist and forearm, ready to snatch them again if Rorschach moved. He didn't, just kept his face to the ground.
"Would you trust me? To show you what a Dom is supposed to be like?" The words were out of his mouth before he realized he intended to say them, but after a moment's thought, he realized that was what he had wanted to ask since he realized what his friend's station was.
The floor dropped out from under him when he realized Rorschach hadn't snarled a denial, or thrown a punch at him, or bolted. The blots on his mask were flying, the same way they did when he was working on a particularly tricky connection between two clues.
"Not gay, Daniel."
"You know better than that. It's not about sex." He waited a moment, then realized Rorschach needed convincing, one way or another. "I would never hurt you. You can be what you are without having to worry about that. You've said before that you trust me. I understand if you aren't willing to give me this level of trust."
He still wasn't saying anything. Dan realized he was holding his breath. Even so, he couldn't bring himself to breathe. Not until Rorschach nodded. Just the tiniest inclination of his head.