Sugar Cubes

It was early in the morning; the mid-October sun was nestling its way through the kitchen blinds and warmed the bare shoulders of Walter. The ginger was leaning against the counter; he wore a simple beater tucked into navy boxers. His bony toes wiggled freely from holes in his worn out socks. Bright blue eyes shown with contentment as he munched away on a handful of sugar cubes.

The vigilante had crept his way through the back door about day break to wash his clothes. Normally the filth didn't bother him, but a months worth of ally mud, scum blood, and whatever splashed on him when he hunted his whimpering prey in the dead of night had begun to tickle his nose and burn his eyes. Walter determined it was time to give them a wash.

The soft patter of feet started from upstairs, next came the tiny creeks and groans from the staircase. Walter let out a low growl, those weren't Dan's footfalls. The sight that came trotting through the doorway was humorous enough. Laurie entered the kitchen, rubbing her eyes. Her long, lush, and usually perfect hair was mused with fly-aways. The sleepy hero wore one of Dan's sweaters and a pair of his briefs.

Laurie took one look at the scowling man and let out a shriek, not used to seeing him without his mask, or so dressed down, "Rorschach!"

He blinked and rolled his shoulder in a shrug, "Have a name. Been using it for a year now. Try it."

She glared at him, not enjoying having something she once said thrown back at her. Laurie was still trying to get used to Walter's appearing acts. She knew Dan cared for him, even loved him as a brother, but she was still wary of the sly hero.

However, she wasn't going to give him the satisfaction of spooking her anymore than he already had. Squaring her shoulders and jutting her chin out, Laurie strutted over to the coffee pot and fixed her and Dan two steaming mugs.

Walter eyed her carefully, sensing how proud she felt knowing where everything was in the kitchen. She was practically shouting, "Ha! See, I've been in Dan's life long enough to know exactly where the spoons are!"

He let out a low rumble as she walked by him to retrieve the milk from the fridge. They acted like two wild animals, he protecting his territory, she marking her own. After returning the milk to its rightful place, Laurie opened the cabinet and peered inside. She glanced around briefly then felt her anger boil. Careful, not to slam it shut; she closed the door and turned to face the now defensive looking red-head.

His shoulders were hunched over, his hands clutching something close to his chest. Laurie rolled her eyes and stuck her hand out, palm up. When he didn't move, she quickly folded and unfolded his fingers, beckoning him to hand them over.

Laurie, "I know you have them, Walter. Give'em."

He looked between her hand to her face, and then back again. He only gripped the box of sugar cubes closer to him, "Not yours."

She put her hands on her hips with a huff, "Just four!"

He narrowed his eyes.


He glared.


Walter scrunched his nose.

Laurie bit her tongue to simmer her temper, "Don't make me ask for one."

He straightened up, locking his eyes with hers, challenging her. She took a deep breath and counted to ten. This was not how she wanted to start off the day, but if he was going to be stubborn, then she wasn't going to hold back.

Dan yawned and rolled over in bed, sliding his hand to the other side; he found it empty and cold. Strange, he usually woke up before she did. Dan sat up and rubbed his hair, trying to fix it without using a brush.

Finding and pulling a pair of jeans on, he stumbled from his bedroom and made his way toward the stairs. Suddenly, a heart stopping crash came from the kitchen. He was wide awake now and rushed to the sense, fearing the worst. Had someone broken in? Was Laurie in trouble?

He stormed into the kitchen, fists clenched and ready to bust some lips. However, there was no threat, no madman with a gun, thug in a mask, or even anyone on their feet. There was, however, two people on the floor, in a bit of a tussle.

Laurie sat on top of Walter, pinning him down. One hand was pressing in the center of his face while the other hand was swatting his hand away. Walter resembled a squirrel, his cheeks were puffed out with … sugar cubes? He also had one of his hands pushing against the side of Laurie's face, squashing her cheek, and was waving the other hand around wildly.

Dan just stood there in shock. He didn't except foul play, he knew Laurie loved him and that Walter would never betray him in such a way, he just couldn't believe the two actually went to such lengths to get at each other.

Laurie, "Spit them out!"

Walter grunted.

Dan cleared his throat. They both froze and jerked their heads in his direction. Then, like two little kids, they scrambled off the floor and quickly stood apart. Laurie looked embarrassed while Walter looked indifferent, chewing without much ease. Dan put his hands on his hips and gave them leveled looks.

"Alright, would someone explain what is going on?" Dan asked.

Laurie jumped in, before Walter could muster choppy, short sentences around the wad of melting sugar.

"Walter is a greedy, selfish man, Dan! I refuse to deal with his actions anymore. Something has to be done." She finished with a pointed nod, feeling confident.

Dan turned his gaze to Walter, who was desperately trying to swallow the sugary mush. He hurriedly turned to the sink and spat it out, defeated.

"No, Dan, she's wrong. Those sugar cubes, you bought for me." Walter stated his case, refusing to let this woman butt her way into his life and mess it all up. He and Dan had been partners for years, long before she had wormed her away to his heart.

Dan sighed and shook his head, "Laurie, he's right. I did buy those for him. However," before she could give him a pout and before Walter could grunt in triumph, "from now on, Laurie, your sugar cubes will be in the pink tin, and Walter, yours will be in grey one, is that okay?"

They shared slight glances then turned away, each crossed their arms. Laurie nodded and Walter gave a deep Hrmm. Satisfied with their answers, Dan turned around to go back upstairs.

"Well, it seems I'll need to make a trip to the store." He said with a chuckle, still shaking his head in disbelief. Even though they went at each other's throats and huffed and puffed whenever they had to interact together, Dan knew they cared about each other, because they cared about him.