Dan walked up to his apartment, pausing at the door, looking at the handle. It had been kicked open. Memories flashed through Dan's mind, memories of his old friend, breaking into his house whenever he needed something.
Dan grunted, opening his front door, and walking inside, looking around, hoping to catch a glimpse of whatever robber was stupid enough to break into his house. He searched every room, stopping in the kitchen, to see Rorschach, leaning again his kitchen table. Surprisingly not eating his beans.
"R-Rorschach?" Dan asked, afraid of the answer.
"Been a long time Dan." Came the rasped reply. What the… Rorschach had a much deeper voice than that, and Rorschach's mask was safe with-
"What the Hell!? K!" Dan scolded, turning on the light to get a better view of the figure. Black leather jacket, boot cut denim jeans, and Rorschach's mask and fedora.
"Well you figured that out pretty quickly. You really were a detective back in the day, weren't you?" K asked, still making her voice raspy. "Still gaining weight though I see."
"How did you… K, why the hell are you running around in Rorschach's old costume?" Dan asked.
"That's why you gave it to me, isn't it?" She asked, "I'm not stupid Dan, you give me his old stuff, and not a full week later, the Keene Act is up for grabs."
Dan sighed, "That part was all Adrian, he's got unbelievable connections in the government. There's no questions about it, the Keene Act is getting repealed."
The voice in K's mind spoke up, Veidt couldn't have sighed his death warrant any clearer. He's made it simple for us to retaliate.
K grunted, "Understood, from now on, you need to call me Rorschach."
Dan shook his head, "K, look I understand why you're doing this, but you shouldn't. From what Adrian's told me, this team he's putting together, it's very… limited."
"He's got a list already?" K asked, "No exceptions?"
"None." Dan said, "He's been very insistent about who's on it."
"Very well." K said, "Looks like I'll be on my own then, unless you plan on seizing the opportunity."
Dan sighed again, "Look, there's two reasons why that can't happen. For starters, I'm not exactly a bachelor anymore."
Still with that tramp Laurie? Surprising.
"Laurie still hanging around, or do you have another bimbo?" I rasped.
"Hey!" He snapped, "Watch your- hey, how did you know… uh, never mind, just… watch your mouth."
K caught sight of a picture frame on the far wall, Dan and a woman she assumed was Laurie, standing behind two teenagers. One boy, one girl. The boy was a mirror image of his father, from the way his pressed his shoulders forward, to the big glasses on his face, and finally the odd hairstyle Dan seemed to barely pull off. The girl did look like her mother, but you could see hints of Dan in her face, her eye color, a light dust of freckles on the bridge of her nose, and the way her node seemed to come to a blunt point. All in all, they were both very attractive.
K felt Rorschach stir a bit, stress and something else radiating off of him. If she had to guess, probably betrayal, maybe jealousy.
Don't even try that kid.
K fought back the urge to smirk, someone was in denial.
"Sure Dan. Didn't answer question."
Dan paused a moment, before he chuckled, "You're a lot like him you know, your Dad."
The voice inside my head went silent, but K could feel that he was deep in thought. Even though this voice seemed to know a lot about K, he didn't know everything about her. He didn't know who her father was, or why Dan knew him. She decided to keep it that way.
K was silent for a moment, and Dan continued, "We were friends you know, and-"
"Don't care." K growled, "Just tell me the other reason why I can't strike out on my own."
Dan sighed, "Because, you're already on the list."
K didn't hear anything from the voice for a few seconds, just immeasurable rage and murderous intent coming off of it's presence in her mind.
"Thank you Dan, good bye." K left quickly, not wanting to freak out in front of him. She ran to her apartment, not stopping at any corners, until she burst into the door of her apartment, collapsing on the ground, spurting, tearing the mask off.
Finally, the voice spoke, screamed actually, VEIDT! NEW LOW, EVEN FOR HIM! I will NOT tolerate this!
She whimpered, grabbing her head, the emotions surging through her head, crashing on the walls of her skull, and bouncing back with twice the momentum.
FILTHY LIBERAL! WHAT HE DID TO ME WASN'T ENOUGH! NO, HE HAS TO GO AND DO SOMETHING LIKE THIS!
"Please…" K mumbled, digging her nails into her head, "It… hurts."
The voice immediately died down, but the angry was still there. The pain only got less, never subsided. Sorry.
Did he just apologize?
Should sleep, have a long day tomorrow, school, work, and patrol. Busy schedule.
K sighed, "Yeah, busy."
K paused, not wanting to ask the forbidden question K was sure would make him explode in anger like he had moments ago. "So uh… I'm supposed to be on this list Veidt is making?"
… Yes, why?
"If he offers-"
He will. He's like a baby, if he doesn't get what he wants, he pitches a royal fit.
"Okay, you clearly don't like him, so when he offers, what do I do?" K asked, biting her lower lip.
… There was a long silence, before he finally said. Tell him yes. His methods need further investigation, if you're up for it.
So, you will have school, job, team responsibilities, and solo work. You still understand?
"Oh…" K mumbled. "I guess…"
Sleep on it. Need sleep.
"Right." K put the mask back under the couch, in the small cardboard box, curling up on the couch, and drifting off to sleep.
TWO WEEKS LATER:
Blending in and out of Rorschach's persona required a certain level of a morality call. Sure, the first week back to school made me tempted to pull out the mask, and put it on, releasing hell on anyone who disrespected me, but good for me, in the short four years my mother gave a damn about me, she managed to bust some form of a conscience into my head. Cole knew something was up, that much I knew he understood.
Cole wasn't to happy that I was being more secretive than usual, and I had a feeling that Rorschach's friend Dan had blabbed to Adrian, who had blabbed to his son. Cole knew I had donned the Rorschach costume, and he was probably happy about that.
I wasn't the only one changing. Cole was getting stronger, I could see muscles poking out from his polo's now. I could see he was getting faster too, his typing had always been like lightning, but now, it seemed that his entire body was a speed machine. Trevor had left me alone since the night he set me up, but now his entire focus was on Cole. Trevor had tried to shove him into a locker two days ago, and Cole had done a freaking back flip in the middle of the hallway, sailing right over Trevor's head, and had walked away.
The truth was setting in pretty hard, Cole didn't need my protection anymore. I don't think he ever did.
After one week of school, I had decided enough was enough. I wasn't normal anymore, I didn't need school. So I dropped out, and picked up an extra shift at work.
Surprisingly, I hadn't been fired. Once my boss found out what happened to me, he actually insisted I take a few days off, with pay. Guess he wasn't as much of a bastard as I thought. I actually have a feeling that the glares he was getting from the only other female worker were the reason he was sympathizing though.
Rorschach talked every now and then, mostly on patrol, telling me how to fight. Sometimes he would insist I trained, have me run up and down the streets, insisting I run faster every time I slowed down. Then he taught me to jump roof tops. Yeah, that was a joke.
I stood on the edge of the roof, "Are you sure?"
I have done this countless times. You are lighter than I used to be, will have no difficulty getting over this alley.
I took a deep breath, "Aright."
I took a few steps back, rushing forward and jumping over the side. At the last possible moment, fear took over, and I grabbed the edge of the fire escape, yanking myself to collide with it. I clutched it like I was hanging onto dear life, staring down at the ground, about ten stories beneath me.
What the- why did you grab the edge!?
"Because I don't wanna fall!"
Let go of the edge, and flip over to the other side. If you do it right, should land on the roof.
Let's just say that didn't get me any brownie points with him.
Five days after I dropped out of school, Cole showed up at my apartment. He wasn't the same kid I remembered defending from Trevor. The old Cole wore plaid button up shirts, and corduroys. He always had his hair in whatever style he woke up with, he ran his fingers through it sometimes, but most of the time it was in a bed head/tousled kind of sway. He used to talk like an adult, it was never 'what's up?' it was 'how are you?' he never once said anything that made him seem like a teenager, he always just talked like a computer. His sarcasm never sounded like sarcasm, and he hardly ever scoffed or rolled his eyes.
It didn't like this new Cole. New Cole showed up at my doorstep at two in the morning, right as I was getting home from work. He was wearing a wife beater under a blue hoodie, and blue jeans with holes in the knees. The minute I opened the door for him, he just jerked his chin at me, "What's up?"
I glared at him, and then slammed the door in his face.
He was quiet for about two seconds, then knocked on the door again, "Come on K, you've been absent from school for a whole week, we need to talk."
I yanked open the door again, "I'm not absent Cole, I dropped out."
He raised an eyebrow, "You know you need to get an education-"
"Finish that sentence and I'll throw you out that window." I snapped, pointing to the one at the end of the hall. "Now what the hell do you want Veidt?"
He shrugged, "Look I just… can I come in?"
I snorted, stepping aside to let him walk in. "Just don't expect a tray of chocolates set out for ya."
He chuckled a little, "K, the entire reason I came here was to get away from trays of expensive candy set out in front of me."
He flopped down on my couch, and I slumped down next to him, "So why are you here?"
He sighed, "Look, I just… I'm scared, okay?"
I raised an eyebrow, "Scared? Of what?"
He shook his head a little, "I'm just, suddenly, my dad just starts cracking down on me with training, and I'm expected to be the new Ozymandias, when he used to not care about what I did."
I pulled my knees up to my chest, watching him closely.
"That's the great part about being a spoiler rich kid." He mumbled, "Your parents don't care."
I gave him a look, "Wow Cole, that must be just, really terrible. Honestly, I have no idea how you survived in that huge mansion with all those butlers and maids, with all that five star food, and expensive toys."
He held up his hands in surrender, "Alright, it's not a contest, I get it, you've had a much harder life."
"But I just… I need a friend right now K." Cole sighed. "The Keene Act is getting repealed, it's a sure thing. This team Dad is putting together, I don't know anyone on it, except-"
"Me?" I finished.
Cole looked at me sadly, "Yeah, just you. You're the only one on the list that I know."
I frowned, "Whop else is on the list?"
He shrugged, "Well, there's these two kids from the nicer part of town, and this one guy from foster care. I asked Dad what the method was for picking them, he wouldn't talk about it."
I paused, "Those two kids, were they siblings?"
He nodded, "Yeah, brother and sister?"
"Did they live on Williams St?"
He nodded, "Yeah, how'd you know?"
I shook my head, "I know what the method for picking them is. It's the same reason that you and me are on the list. We related to the former Watchmen."
His eyes widened, "So those two kids-"
"Fraternal twins of NiteOwl and Silk Specter." I explained, "And whoever that boy is in the foster system, I'm willing to bet he's got a connection to either Comedian, or Dr. Manhattan."
Cole sighed, "I don't know why my Dad chose now to make this team K, but I don't want to… upset him. He's finally proud of me."
I bit my tongue gently, before releasing it, scraping over my front taste buds. "I know the feeling."
Cole raised an eyebrow, "But, you never met your dad."
I stiffened, doing a quick mind sweep to make sure Rorschach wasn't around. Nope. Where he went when he wasn't in my thoughts, I didn't know. Not sure I wanted to, or if I would be able to understand it.
"Feels like he's still around sometimes." I mumbled, "Parts of him anyways."
Cole stared at me, before speaking up, "There have been sightings of a masked vigilante in a leather jacket running around your neighborhood. You know anything about that?"
I shrugged, "Just taking the mask for a test run, that's all."
Cole seemed to let it go, and we sat in silence for a moment, before he broke it again. "Hey, K? When my dad offers you the position, will you take it?"
I paused, considering it. Rorschach seemed pretty intent on accepting the offer, and I couldn't really refuse him anything. He'd haunt me until I accepted. "Well, I can't let your nerdy rich ass on a team alone with people who could probably tear you to shreds, right?"
He laughed, "God I've missed you so much, K."
I smirked, "You'd be the first."