Can I just point out, before you start reading, that I actually really love Laurie? I know a lot of people don't, but I think she's badass and strong. But this is set when she was younger, and probably more arrogant.

And no; Daniel has no idea what the Comedian's muttering means.


Daniel felt a rising panic, from his stomach up to his forehead, as the insults flew back and forth between them. So far, Rorschach had been very composed and restrained, merely throwing jabs back at Silk Spectre as flippantly and easily as though they were conversing about the weather. He hadn't raised a hand to strike the girl, and he probably wouldn't so long as Daniel and Manhattan were in the room, but the slandering bar was rising and Nite Owl sensed Rorschach's irritation going with it. Laurie stomped around – the masked vigilante having had his back to her – and got right in his face, and out of habit Rorschach took a step back. Ozymandias and The Comedian were sitting on opposite ends of the couch; the blond watching mournfully with rising discomfort, and the greying brunette grinning and chuckling at the argument, occasionally muttering "That's my girl" under his breath. Daniel also noted how Bubastis had wriggled under the couch, peering out between her master's ankles, distressed by Laurie's shrieking. The lynx didn't have a problem with Rorschach; she liked him, and he liked her. He was a cat person, Daniel concluded.

"And another thing!," Silk Spectre barked, leaning into his partner's personal bubble; not wise. "Do you ever take a bath? You smell like a breathing garbage truck!," She snapped, waving a hand in front of her face to accentuate her disgust with his body odour. Rorschach snorted, almost sounding amused, and rolled his shoulders, making a comfortable click.

"Would rather smell like garbage truck than brothel," he replied smoothly, reaching up and pinching his nose through his mask. Laurie's mouth fell open, gaping like a fish out of water for a moment, then tensed and hunched up her shoulders. "Speaking of which; how is your mother, Laurel?," he enquired, tilting his head. Daniel hissed through his teeth at that one, eyes briefly darting to look at The Comedian. At the right moment, it seemed, as he watched the older vigilante's fist curl into the fabric of the couch, teeth gritting and eyes narrowing at Rorschach's back. Nite Owl stayed vigilant, ready to intercept the old timer if he attempted to attack. That's what partners did; they had each others' backs.

"You insensitive, depraved wad of psychotic shit!," Laurie screamed, making Bubastis whine and press her head into the back of Adrian's calf. "How dare you! How dare you!," she swung an arm back, then forward in a sharp, slapping movement, and to Daniel's surprise Rorschach let her. The latex of his mask probably took away most of the sting, but he still grunted slightly as his head turned sideways jerkily. "You fucking bastard!," She went on. "What right do you have to talk about my mother that way?!," Doctor Manhattan then decided enough was enough, and stepped closer to the arguing pair.

"Laurie, I believe we should depart now. It has been a long night," Nite Owl had to agree with him there; they'd been discussing their next action against an underground child pornography ring. He didn't know how the fight started – he'd been out of the room getting himself and Rorschach more coffee, and when he came back, Silk Spectre had kicked over the conference table and was bearing down on his partner. It could've been either hero's fault; maybe Rorschach said something stupid and insensitive, or maybe Laurie had done so, and his partner just happened to retort in the right – or wrong – manner.

"No!," She spat at him, taking the super human by surprise. "If this little ass hole thinks he can get away with talking about my mum that way, he's got another thing coming!," She focused her glare back to Rorschach, who'd turned his head forward once again.

They stared at each other for a moment, before the male vigilante simply shrugged. "Hurm," he grunted. "Makes no difference. Your mother was still jail bait before she became the rotting prune she is now. Pity her daughter's following in her footsteps as a useless hero."

Nite Owl seethed again, this time squeezing his eyes shut and pinching the bridge of his nose. That idiot thought this was a game, didn't he? This wasn't like a playful argument between himself and Rorschach while flying over the city in Archie, it was a full blown squabble that could very well rip this already fragile team apart. Daniel's eyes snapped open again as The Comedian got to his feet and took a menacing stomp towards Rorschach, so Daniel calmly stepped between them, raising a hand to the other's muscular chest. "Easy, let them sort this out themselves."

In hindsight, that might not have been the best choice of words, or the best decision. Laurie's high pitched growl sounded peculiar, and Daniel heard the muffled snort as his partner tried not to laugh. "Useless... hero?!," This time, her screech was so loud, Bubastis actually bolted from the room and bombed into the kitchen, startling Adrian and making him jump up. Rorschach turned his head to watch the feline flee, then clucked his tongue disapprovingly.

"Now look; you've scared the cat."

"I am not the useless hero here! I have never failed a mission, serious or stupid! If I'm the useless hero here, tell me why you were the one to let that Roche kid get turned into dog food!"

The room went silent, though Laurie's voice echoed down the halls through the open door. Adrian froze in his attempt to run after Bubastis, eyes turning wide and a visible gulp going down his throat. John's eyebrows twitched ever so slightly, and The Comedian's jaw fell open, though he caught it and blinked a few times. Laurie suddenly flinched, as she suddenly realised what she'd just said, and gaped at her own cold hearted words. Rorschach went very still, hands not moving from his pockets, lapels not even moving with the rise and fall of his chest, as if he'd suddenly stopped breathing. They all stared at them, until Rorschach made a stilled choking, coughing sound, and slowly shuffled towards the door by Adrian, turning his head down to stare at the floor.

"Oh... oh God... Oh, Rorschach, I'm so sorr-," Laurie raised a hand, reaching for Rorschach's shoulder in an attempt to apologise, but found herself grabbed by the collar of her costume and roughly yanked off her feet slightly. Daniel snarled as he held the girl off the ground, clenching his fists into her latex outfit so hard it must have hurt her.

"You little bitch!," he barked, pulling his arm back and clenching his fist. Laurie's eyes widened in shock and she grabbed at the hand holding her, trying to break free, and Daniel heard The Comedian and Ozymandias shouting behind him.

"Nite Owl, don't!"

"John, no!"

Manhattan paused when a gloved hand snagged Daniel's elbow, halting the immanent punch. His sparking, supernova eyes watched Rorschach curiously as the shorter man gave his partner's arm a slight tug.

"Don't, Daniel," he said, not letting go of his arm. "Manhattan will kill you. Not worth it," Nite Owl turned to look at Rorschach, and John didn't need to see his eyes to know that panicking worry filled them, as he shoved Laurie away and turned his full attention upon his partner. Rorschach didn't look up at him, but moved his hand down to Daniel's wrist, taking it in a gentle but firm grip. He then turned and pulled Nite Owl towards the door with him, not making seeming eye contact with anyone else in the room. Laurie cough and panted as she leant on the cabinet behind her, then looked up with despair in her eyes.

"Rorschach, I'm really sorry! I didn't mean it, honest! It was just a spur of the moment thing, and I wasn't thinking...!," The masked vigilante just raised his hand, not looking back as he guided his friend out of the room. He turned slightly to grip the door handle, ready to close it behind them.

"Don't worry, Miss Juspeczyk," he rumbled, uncharacteristically soft. "You were correct, anyway." And he carefully closed the door with a soft clunk.


Hail to the princess, baby.