1. Weeping Moon
"I'll never let you go, as long as you promise not to fade away, never fade away." - Muse
Quiet as the world seems, I know that a mile behind me- a mere fingernail of a journey- the city is weeping. A baby is crying for its mother, a mother is crying for her baby. Cats sit on their fence posts and howl their loveless lives at the moon.
The moon howls back, for all our inequities. For World Wars. For the atom bomb. For private disasters behind drawn curtains and locked doors. For personal Hiroshimas and the shadows of ourselves we left behind.
I watch her weeping on the surface of the water, the rush of waves to-and-fro under her irresistible pull. Above me, Lady Liberty's own Earth-bound moon shines. Her green skin, sea-washed and eternal, whispers into the secretive November wind, and I wonder what it would be like to be so steadfast.
"Shouldn't be here," he rumbles behind me.
I smile ruefully at the moon on the water. "Because it's illegal or because it's cold?" I ask.
"Both." He slides his grimy trenchcoat from his shoulders and wraps it around me.
I shiver gratefully into it and the warmth he left inside. "Thank you," I tell him.
"You swam here," he says. It's not a question.
"It was the only way to get here undetected," I explain. "The boats don't run this late."
"You shouldn't either. Catch your death."
I shrug. "Wouldn't matter."
His hand flashes out faster than the blink of an eye and grabs my wrist. His thumb digs into the pressure point just above my pulse. I wince but make no sound.
"Don't say that," he growls. His voice remains nearly unchanged, but I hear the tremulous razor edge wavering underneath.
"Let me go, Rorschach," I say calmly, though my entire right arm has started to go numb.
"I need to hear you say it."
"Say what?" But I know.
Rorschach releases his hold on my wrist and grips my face between his hands. His fingers press so hard they'll leave bruises. I can't see his eyes but I know where they'd be, so I look right at them.
"Say it," he hisses.
A tear traces a path down my cheek. "What do you want me to say?" My voice is dead.
"You promised," he accuses through clenched teeth. The heat of his breath drives through the space between us, dusting my face.
I close my eyes tightly. My promise is lifeless but steadfast. My own Lady Liberty. When I open them again I feel colder.
"I promise I won't leave you."
Rorschach holds me and breathes in the space between us. I am so hollow it feels like he's breathing for both of us. After a moment, one leather-clad finger reaches up to touch the tear resting on my cheek.
"Come back with me," he urges, though it sounds more like a command. "Will walk you home."
In spite of everything I laugh, and more tears cascade down my face. "What a gentleman," I say. My voice quivers like a drop of ink on a quill.
"Hurm." Rorschach pulls his hands from my face and runs his fingers through mine. I let him drag me behind him, but furrow my brows in sudden confusion.
"How did you get here?"
I raise an eyebrow. "Does Dan know?"
"Does he need to?"
For some reason this makes me laugh.
The hoverbike leans like a silent ghost against one of the dock posts, silver in the moon's waterless tears. Rorschach stops and turns to me. "Will need to carry you," he says and turns, one hand still gripping mine.
I close my eyes tightly while a tiny voice in my mind squeals, "Piggyback! Piggyback!"
Slowly, arthritically, I climb onto Rorschach's back, wrapping my arms firmly around his neck. My fingers tightly clutch his purple suit while he steps onto the hoverbike. It's not till we're on the water, blasting through the November whitecaps, that I ask him.
"How did you know I'd be here?" I ask, so quietly I wonder if he'll hear me over the ocean and the bike.
But he does.
"It's where I would've come," he replies.
I nod into his neck, and cling to the understanding between us.
A/N: Hey, readers! This isn't my first Watchmen story but it is the first I've decided to post here, so I hope you like it. Please feel free to review because I'd love your feedback (although I know this chapter is a little short so there's not much to go on; sorry!)