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Fic: Echo (3/4)

Title: Echo (3/4)
Author: lilac28
Pairing: Rorschach/Nite Owl
Rating: R
Disclaimer: I wish I could write something as amazing as Watchmen. Sadly I did not.
Notes: Slight AU, where everyone thought Crimebusters was a swell idea. Pre-Roche Rorschach so sure he's quiet and grim, but he still has all the buttons on his over-coat.
Summary: Written for a prompt on the kinkmeme that I can't find anymore. Through a bizarre encounter, Nite Owl and Rorschach switch bodies. While struggling to right the situation, Dan learns a few things about his partner.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4




Dan trudged down the tunnel that lead from his basement to the streets, gait decidedly un-Rorschach-like although he inhabited his partner's body. After the third time of nearly tripping over his own feet, he changed his stride to a length that his smaller legs could handle. Gone was the smooth flow of Rorschach's movements, the cat-like grace of one in touch with his own physical prowess. In its place was the awkward fumbling of someone completely out of his element. I feel like a giant trapped in a midget's body.

Added to that was the fact that he couldn't fucking see straight.

The mask was on, creating a thin jelly ooze of black and white across his vision. The world was reduced to something flat and distant, two-dimensional shapes and colors muting out all of life's context clues. I can't believe he walks down this dark tunnel every night and doesn't break his neck. Does he actually find this view comforting?

It was out of respect for his partner's identity that he hadn't taken a bus or a cab. Just his luck that someone would notice and put two and two together. He'd probably end up sitting next to Jimmy the Gimmick on a gangster date. Someone would recognize the trench coat and unique purple pinstripe suit, even in its current rarely laundered state.

Or someone from his real life would spot Rorschach's unmistakable face. Then he'd have to come up with a clever excuse for why he didn't recognize them, and clever excuse for the outfit.

Changing clothes was another option that was quickly discarded. One could still identify daytime Rorschach, whoever that redheaded guy was. What if he ran into a fellow Crimebuster? Where would he change before the meeting? What if some filthy degenerate on his way to poison the city's water supply caught him barefaced in the tunnels? Whoa, where the hell did that thought come from?

So travel in full Rorschach regalia it was. He'd even pulled the mask down over his eyes as he left his basement, partially to protect his partner and partially to get used to wearing it before he hit the streets.

Dan knew the tunnel would bring him out in a warehouse two blocks North. Yet despite the two blocks of practice, he was still profoundly uncomfortable at the thought of being Rorschach.

Reaching his destination, he made his way up the ladder, into the secret entrance of the warehouse, and to the door that lead to the streets. There was precious little time before the Crimebusters meeting; the laundry and bathing adventure had taken longer that he thought it would. He had to get there quickly. As Rorschach.

Dan squared his shoulders, bowed his head, and jammed his hands in his pockets. Clearing his throat, he affected his best imitation of his partner's growl.

"Hurm. Hrm. Too soft, Nite Owl. The dusk reeks of fornication and bad consciences. Ennk." Here goes nothing.

The first few blocks were deserted, allowing him to travel successfully. Minus one embarrassing stumble over a curb, which no one was around to witness.

Then he came to 42nd Street.

It was a cesspool, as usual. Gaudy pink and yellow flashed from every storefront and breast-baring movie house. Well-dressed men propositioned hookers in full view, casting furtive glances while clenching fistfuls of sweaty dollar bills. More lost souls trying to escape their daytime lives, trying to hide their identities. Everyone regarded him with a wary eye, as if afraid he was going to expose any seedy dealing with a flick of the wrist. As if his mere presence could reveal illicit behavior. They must be used to seeing him walk around here. Small fry, though. Even Rorschach can't arrest everyone.

"Hey, sweetie, need a date?" A scantily dressed woman smiling at him interrupted Dan’s reverie.

Her bright red hair was incentive enough to make him walk faster.

"C'mon, honey, loosen up and we can have some fun." Another woman approached him. Do they come on to him all the time like this?

Before he reached the turn off 42nd Street to cut into the alleys, Dan was propositioned at least 7 times. It was almost amusing, thinking of how riled Rorschach must get when they did this to him every night. He was offered Swedish love and French love. But not American love. Huh, that's weird.

Over twenty minutes could be shaved off his trip by taking a shortcut through the alleys, one he learned from patrols with Rorschach. Navigating the city always seemed to make so much more sense to Dan when done in the air rather than on foot. Not so for Rorschach, who clearly had missed his calling as a troubled cartographer. Dan had thought he was familiar with the city, yet partnering with Rorschach brought a whole new level of sophistication. Something he was grateful for now that his sight felt so hampered.

He was halfway there when voiced echoed from behind him.

"Hey, it's one of those faggot masks!"

"Ha ha! Yeah, man. I've seen 'im in the paper with his boyfriend Owl Guy."

"He's gotta boyfriend? Musta changed his deodorant!"

Three poorly dressed young punks, couldn't have been older than twenty. Not too bright either. No one in this end of town taunted Rorschach, not unless they were very powerful, or very stupid. And why the hell does everyone think we're gay, anyway?

They were moving to circle him. One stepped closer, mouth twisted in a broken grin. Dan was on his guard, but not frightened. He'd taken this many men alone before. Perhaps it wouldn't come to that, he could possibly diffuse the situation without too much violence, and without his true concern, wasted time.

"Young man, don't do something you'll regret." Like making me kick your ass from here to Jersey.

The punk brandished a knife, holding it with the utmost pride and the poorest form. Talking, obviously, was not going to work. So using all of Rorschach's tight, wiry electricity he clenched his hand and swung his fist in the perfect arc.

And missed by at least three inches.

The next thing he knew, he was lying in a pile of trash, head spinning from the punk's ringing punch, ears adjusting to the sound of their uproarious laughter.

"He ain't so tough! "

Dan struggled to get up, arms and legs scrabbling for purchase. The mask was stifling. He couldn't breathe. Then they were on him, pushing him down like a sad brown and purple beetle helpless on its back. He couldn't move in the trench coat, the scarf was constricting around his throat.

Oh shit. Fuck. Arms too short. Can't fight like you're used to. Don't let them pin you down. Shit!

The leader loomed over him, knife glinting in the streetlight. "Let's see what's under that mask."

Get up! You have to fight like Rorschach! What would Rorschach do?

Rorschach would throw himself at them with all the fury of a hurricane. He would punch and kick and crush bones with barely a breath between him and the body of his enemy. Tactically, Rorschach was brilliant. He was so unpredictable. Knowing how to use his energy and smaller stature to his great advantage was just another facet of his brilliance. Nite Owl never fully appreciated that. Not until now.

"Rraaaarrl!" With a primal growl, Dan launched himself just as Rorschach would have. Fast and low to the ground, with little regard for his own personal safety. He snatched the knife with one hand while the other buried itself in the man's stomach with a solid punch. The punk doubled over wheezing, unable to react before Dan's foot connected with his skull.

With one mugger out cold, Dan turned to the other two, who stood gaping in amateurish shock. "Anyone else want to try and undress me?"

They ran in the other direction, leaving their unconscious friend at his mercy.

Dan adjusted his clothes. Successful as the assault was, he still didn't get how Rorschach fought in a suit, scarf, and heavy coat. At least spandex moved with the body. How his partner could be so lethal in such tight pants, Dan would never understand. Still, it's a fighting style that works. I can see how it would be especially effective for a guy who never jerks off.

No time to lose, he kept walking in the direction of Crimebusters headquarters.



After what seemed like forever he reached the location of the meeting. Sliding through the front door, he quickly made his way through the hall lined with old Minutemen photographs, up the stairs, and around the corner to main room.

Dan rushed into the meeting space. If Rorschach was okay, there was an excellent chance that he would show up here in an effort to find him. At the very least maybe he could get some help from Jon or one of the others.

In typical Rorschach fashion, he burst into the room with contracted fists and fedora artfully arranged. He met with four pairs of surprised eyes belonging to Nelson, Laurie, the Comedian, and Ozymandias. No Rorschach. No Jon. Fuck.

"Has-has anyone seen Rorschach?"

The Comedian's lips broke into a sinister smile behind his cigar, eyes bright with amusement. "I'm lookin' at him right now, but what I'm not seein' is his better half. Nice of you to show up, Rorschach, now that the meeting's over."

"Uh....I mean..." How was he going to explain this? Oh, I meant Nite Owl. Or his body at least. I'm really Nite Owl in Rorschach's body and Moloch switched us and I'm looking for them both and..."

The Comedian didn't even wait for a response before he rose to leave. "Been a laugh riot, gang. Oh, and Rorschach...if you can't even remember your own name then you an' your partner are spendin' way too much time together."

He gave Dan a faux-friendly pat on the shoulder that sent his tiny frame stumbling forward, nearly colliding with Laurie.

"Laurie, wait, I need to talk to you."

Laurie, who always had a sweet smile for Dan, recoiled in something akin to horror, the reality of Rorschach's hand on her arm and the use of her first name obviously unpleasant.

"Look, Rorschach, I've really gotta go. Jon's not here so I caught a ride with Nelson-"

"Jon! Where's Jon?"

"On some mission somewhere."

"When's he coming back?"

"I'm not sure. Tonight maybe."

"I need to talk to him. It's urgent. It's about, uh, Nite Owl."

Laurie yanked her arm back and began herding Nelson out the door. "Yeah, Rorschach, I'll tell him you're looking for him."

"Please, Laurie, it's urgent!"

"I heard you the first time. I'll tell him."

Dan didn't chase after her, fixing his gaze instead on Ozymandias, the only crime fighter who had not yet beaten a hasty retreat. He was regarding Dan with an air of disengaged politeness, the countenance of one calmly plotting his escape from an unwanted social situation.

"Are you all right, Rorschach? You seem a little...befuddled."

Aw hell, I might as well tell someone here. "Ozymandias, this is gonna sound crazy but I have something to tell you and I need your help. It's about me and Nite Owl."

Ozymandias raised a perfectly manicured eyebrow. "Go on."

"We were on patrol the other night and something, uh, weird happened. I think, it was Moloch, he-he cast some sort of spell on us. I don't know how it happened but I'm not really Rorschach. I know it sounds unbelievable but I'm really-"

Ozymandias held up his hand. "Oh, I see what's happening here. Don't be so hard on yourself, this is actually quite normal."

"It is?!? You've seen this sort of thing before?"

"Oh yes, many times. You see, Rorschach, these types of situations can be very confusing if your mind is not open to certain possibilities. Nite Owl is a good man. He's strong and doesn't shy away from violence when necessary, but he has a side to him that you just don't understand. He's gallant, wants to be a knight in shining armor. If he weren't so caught up in his school boy heroics he'd actually be much more effective."

Asshole. "What I'm trying to tell you that I am Nit-"

"And what I'm trying to tell you is that he's more sensitive than you realize. If you really want him, you're going to have to romance him a little."

"What?" The voice of Rorschach squeaked for possibly the first time ever. "That's not it!"

Before Dan could launch into another awkward explanation of the last night's events, the Comedian came waltzing back into the room. He strode between Dan and Ozymandias with a "'scuse me, ladies", retrieved a pack of forgotten cigars, and left.

Ozymandias used the interruption to make a graceful exit, cape trailing behind him as he ducked out the door.

Hrm. Rich man, cheap escape.

Dan shuddered; perturbed by the realization that he was now thinking like Rorschach as well. He pulled his partner's pinstriped armor and trench coat tighter, feeling cold even though he was inside. No Rorschach or Jon. The only thing left to do was find Moloch. Goddammit. He trudged down the stairs, feeling more than a little defeated.

And there, coming through the front door, was a fully dressed Nite Owl.

His body.

"R-rorschach? Is that you?"

"Daniel," the relief in his voice was evident. "I knew I'd find you here wasting time with bureaucracy."

Yeah, definitely Rorschach. "It's good to see you too, buddy. Any idea what the hell happened?"

"No. I woke up in my apartment looking like this. Immediately went out, started asking questions in the underworld about Moloch. I made my way to the Owl's Nest to see if you were there. When you weren't, I came here. You?"

It was bizarre, looking up at his own face and hearing Rorschach speak to him in the voice of Dan Dreiberg. What was even more bizarre was the fact that Dan was aware of an aching pulse fused hot below his stomach. He was getting hard. He was getting hard while talking to and looking at himself. You've gotta be kidding me.

Was this how Rorschach's body reacted to the sight of him? Or was it just a manifestation of his guilt over masturbating earlier?

"Daniel?"

"Um, yeah. Pretty much the same thing. I woke up at my place but I couldn't stay awake. When I got back up I made the decision to come here and to try to find you or Jon. You both weren't here, so I thought I'd try to find Moloch."

"Agreed. Moloch did this to us. We need to find him, make him undo it."

"Jesus, Rorschach, what did he do to us?"

"Hrm. Not sure. Real magic still doubtful. Possible mind control device or stolen CIA technology." Rorschach's "hrm" sounded false in a Nite Owl voice. "I discovered his true location after a social call to one of his top guards. Vote we go there, right was has been wronged."

So Rorschach had been busy while Dan slept.

He couldn't even articulate how soothing it was in this insane mess to find his partner alive and well. At least he wasn't going crazy. Now if only he could get rid of his "problem" below the belt. Dan attempted to surreptitiously pull the trench coat tighter.

Maybe this was why Rorschach wore so many clothes.

Think of something not sexy. Jon's blue cock, the Comedian in a dress, Archie's air conditioning system....

Archie. "Rorschach, please tell me you still have Archie's remote in my belt?"

Rorschach removed the belt and handed it to Dan. There it was, right in place. The remote that would bring his beloved creation back into his grasp, give him back a tiny illusion of comfort in all the madness.

"Thank God. Let's get the ship, and go to the address you got for Moloch. We'll figure this out. We have to."

"We will figure it out, Daniel. Answers soon. Nothing is insoluble. Nothing is hopeless. Now while there's life."

Then, in a gesture more characteristic of Nite Owl, Rorschach laid a hand on his shoulder. The warm weight flared through him, leaving need and heaviness latent throughout his body. Dan was hard again. Hell and damnation.

The walk to Archie was going to be uncomfortable.


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( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
snake_easing
Jun. 24th, 2010 07:24 pm (UTC)
Everyone regarded him with a wary eye, as if afraid he was going to expose any seedy dealing with a flick of the wrist. As if his mere presence could reveal illicit behavior.

I'm pretty sure they were more worried about vicious beatings, but you know... YMMV...

Still, it's a fighting style that works. I can see how it would be especially effective for a guy who never jerks off.

*snicker* You tell 'em, Dan.

Ozy telling "Ror" about Dan, to Dan's annoyance, is the best thing ever. Asshole indeed!

"Daniel," the relief in his voice was evident. "I knew I'd find you here wasting time with bureaucracy."

Aw, that's how Rorschach says, "I love you!"

Was this how Rorschach's body reacted to the sight of him?

I like that idea, that the body carries over some responses.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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