|Fic: Imposition 2/god knows how many
||[Apr. 7th, 2009|10:15 pm]
Title: Imposition (2/?)
Sequel to: Compromise
Disclaimer: I only own action figures
Rating: eventually NC-17
Warning: Graphic m/m sexual activity, dubious consent. More importantly, unbeta'd and unrevised. Eep.
Summary: Sex! Angst! ...and stuff.
Part 1 of this monstrosity found here.
Dan moved carefully through the motel room, thankful it was unoccupied. He couldn’t afford to wait until sure it was empty, and while he had a plan for dealing with the barely shaved ape if he was there, it had hinged both on the element of surprise and his opponent being very, very drunk. He noted the velvety absence of traffic noise and tapped the walls, surmising from the way it swallowed the knock that it had been soundproofed using plasterboard lined with neoprene rubber. Good work, too, hardly any thicker than the rest of the walls in the glorified flophouse.
He’d scratched the lock picking it, shaking hands missing the slot entirely, and hoped the Comedian was as unobservant as he was uncouth.
There was nothing of interest in the drawers or shallow closet, except several pairs of well cut trousers indicating the Comedian had a 38-inch waist and irksomely good taste in suits. No ID, no weapons, no torture implements or drugs. Just clothes, neatly folded or hung, a nondescript billfold containing nearly five hundred in cash, and a sealed box of cigars on top of the untouched bible next to the bed. Even the bed was made, with tight hospital corners.
He sighed. Whatever he’d expected, hoped, or feared to find, it wasn’t here.
Dan wasn’t the detective. He was the techie. The Q, but teamed up in the field with Philip Marlowe instead of that smug bastard Bond – together, they had the potential to be unbeatable.
Even if Q was in tights and Marlowe had a sock on his head.
Rorschach was the one who put disparate bits of data together, who had a near-psychic ability to zero in on criminals who were one broken finger away from becoming informants. Unfortunately, he was also the object of Dan’s current investigation.
So, it was a good thing he had his hardware to fall back on.
Dan found an air vent above the door, happy that whoever soundproofed the room had cheaped out here. Dan would have used a baffle design with fans on both ends, but this was a simple grill with nice wide gaps. He popped the front off and set one of his newer toys inside, a remote-control closed circuit camera with all the flying tech stripped away. It looked naked without its wings, but was practically invisible with the vent back on.
Dan hoped it was in a good position and made a mental note to design something portable to receive the feed. At the moment, it could only be viewed from Archie.
At least it doesn’t have a blinking red light so any moron can find it as soon as the lights are out, he comforted himself, slipping out the door and down through the lobby, like any law-abiding citizen. Why do they always do that in the movies? It just makes no sense.
He bought a cup of coffee and tried to think of schematics, tracing circuit board patterns in the coffee ring on the formica table, but the blobs ran together under his fingertips. He wondered what, if anything, he’d see, and if it would be tonight, tomorrow, next week…
Stake-outs were also more Rorschach’s thing. He could stare, unmoving, at the shadows of a beaten-down warehouse for hours on end. He usually volunteered to take the longest shifts, only calling Nite Owl in when it was time for the satisfying swoop.
That was not the best part of having a partner, one who actively shouldered the boring parts and shared the exciting ones. But it was pretty high up there.
He could do this. Dan stared at the steam rising from his mug, automatically smiling at the waitress when she topped it up, and tried to pull the pieces together.
For starters, Rorschach never attended Crimebusters meetings any more when the Comedian was there. That was odd enough, but could be attributed to a personal dislike. No one liked the guy, after all. Rorschach was unfailingly polite, when not beating someone half to death, and would probably just avoid a fellow crimefighter he couldn’t bring himself to be civil to. He’d read Under the Hood, they all had, and Nite Owl would have had to be both blind and deaf not to realise his partner really had it in for rapists (along with pedophiles, pimps, johns, pornographers, homosexuals, and public statues with visible naughty bits).
It was…a personal quirk. Probably no quirkier than a grown man dressed as an owl.
And it was true Rorschach refused to even talk about the man. He’d never even given Dan specifics on their one outing, just answered his questions with a terse “You already heard everything on the police scanner,” as he retreated down the tunnel, leaving Dan to fully power Archie down.
But Nelson was concerned about it, too. He kept patting Nite Owl on the shoulder and asking if he wanted to talk about it. And the Comedian made sure to see it every time, and smirk.
All those excuses fell down, though, now that it was obvious he was meeting with the guy on his own. Going well out of his way to do so, in fact. Rorschach left those brief meetings upset and – worse – inattentive. He’d once passed close enough, darting from fire escape to concealment, that Daniel could hear his furious muttering, and he didn’t even seem notice the potential threat of a strange man lingering in an alley. The few words he could make out – bastard…good for nothing but…but no…anyone can see it…anyone...depravity staining us… – at least supported the “Rorschach, like everyone in the world with an IQ larger than their belt size, despises the Comedian” theory.
Dan took a sip of coffee, and smiled again at the waitress who refilled it with the last drops in the coffee pot. Those are the easy pieces, though.
It was the rest of it that made Nite Owl risk slipping out of Archie in civvies and sprint down to where he could easily watch a certain dock after every patrol.
It was the memory of noises he could never force himself to bring up with Rorschach – a fight? At least one hard slap and, maybe someone being throttled, or punched? Definitely choked…maybe? He’d memorised the sequence that night, listening as hard as he could for his partner’s response, and it ran through his mind on a permanent loop while they patrolled.
Because that’s where things went wrong.
His partner had all but abandoned real investigation work in favor of stomping into one of the neighbourhoods Dan detoured around during the day and assaulting anyone who tried to run. Nite Owl had actually enjoyed that to begin with, adding new streets to his mental map and saving the few, poor innocents that suffered there. It was simple, textbook vigilantism. Refreshing.
For a few weeks, anyway.
Frankly, Nite Owl was bored with beating up pimps and weary of pulling his partner off pathetic johns before they were pulped, terrified prostitutes witnessing every move. And he was extremely tired of working with someone who otherwise kept at least half a block between them, barely grunted hello, and paced impatiently around Archie’s interior on the rare instances Nite Owl convinced him they needed a better view of the streets.
Dan left a tip that was three times what he’d paid for coffee and walked into the rain, not noticing the pretty waitress’ wistful sigh. A new possibility had occurred to him: Rorschach wanted a new partner. Someone with similar methods, the same blithe disregard for his own safety when stacked against the pleasure of shattering cartilage, someone he could learn from.
Physical training could sound indistinguishable from a beating, after all.
Dan tried to dismiss the thought. It was ridiculous. Rorschach didn’t seem bored, he seemed…distracted. And, if anything, his fighting skills had actually deteriorated. He’d briefly thrown himself into frays the same way Dan hit the bag, focused and altering his moves slightly each time, ignoring the fact that his bags tried to fight back.
But he’d been letting more and more foes get to him since then. Leaving openings a blind man could see and leaning into the blows. Dan was worried. Nite Owl was sick of watching both their backs.
He’d tried talking to his partner. Listening was one of his major talents in life, if every woman he’d ever known was to be trusted. Rorschach walked away. He tried physically trapping him under a thin mask of humor, getting in his way in blind corridors, blocking him on stairs, even once shoving him into a handy closet and shutting the door behind them, balancing his entirely rational fear of getting his head ripped off against Rorschach’s respect for him. He only learned that Rorschach had a vast vocabulary of impatient growls – Still not funny, Nite Owl – and was slipperier than a fish.
So there were the facts at hand. As far as he could tell, they either added up to Rorschach pushing Dan to leave on his own and save the awkwardness of ditching him – Dan forced himself to acknowledge, blushing, that he’d used that technique himself to end nearly every one of his relationships – or his partner was in deep trouble and refusing to seek help.
I’m going to find out, Dan thought. And then somehow beat the snot out of him for treating me like chopped liver, either way.
Dan thought it would take hours to fall asleep, but he dozed off almost immediately and dreamed of his mother.
Rachel Drieberg was the one who took their son camping upstate. Her husband, to put it kindly, was not outdoorsy. Less kindly and more accurately, he was the kind of human who attracted poison ivy, prickly burrs, and wild animals otherwise on the verge of extinction at turnpike rest stops, and sensibly refused to venture three feet beyond pavement. But their son shared her love of wild places, and wasn’t yet old enough to know that boys simply did not go camping with their mothers, learning to bait a hook and gut the resulting fish from manicured hands.
This would be their last trip together, but neither of them knew it yet.
Rachel wrinkled her nose as her son exclaimed at finding another owl pellet and tucked it away in a plastic bag, but bit her tongue. He would spend the next week dissecting the dried balls of hair and bones, putting small skeletons back together and looking up what bird it had come from based on its prey.
Gross, but at least it would distract him from his comic books for a little while.
Fluttering movement caught her eye, and her first impulse was to move her son away, to detour through brambles and back to their tents, but no. It would be more cruel to shield him from the harshness of Mother Nature in the long run.
The boy cried out – he’d seen it on his own. A small bird, half-fledged and noisy, bumbling through the brush with one wing awkwardly stiff. Daniel reached for it, and Rachel yanked him back.
“No,” she said, “look at that beak. It would only take your finger right off.”
“We have to help it!”
“That’s exactly what we can’t do.”
She told him it had been pushed out of the nest before it could fly for a reason. It was sick, it was hurt, it was small and had bigger siblings crowding him out, any of dozens of inscrutable reasons that could mark this little one to be culled. She tried to tell him what it meant that Mother Nature was red in tooth and claw, but the boy only cried, watching it thrash weakly – an American kestrel, he later decided, remembering the beautiful black and white wing feathers.
His mother had taken pity on him then, pulled him away from the pathetic sight and distracted him with the promise of s’mores. Here, though, it was Daniel’s hands with smooth red-lacquered nails only slightly chipped from roughing it, and they held the child firmly in place, the two of them freezing into silent monoliths.
He made the boy watch while a fox, mangy and scarred, skulked into the clearing, stalking the wounded fledgling without a glance at the human interlopers. The boy’s body tensed tighter and tighter as the fox drew closer, to flee or fight. Flecks of foam dripped from the predator’s muzzle, but he knew it had no interest in either of them. They weren’t part of this.
Unusual for a dream – and he knew this was a dream, but not yet that he could escape from it by merely waking – it didn’t draw out the torment. Leap – snap – and the bird was dead, no longer a weakly living being but an obscene roll of meat and bones and guts, ripped open and snatched up and splattering the clumps of feathers and fluff that littered the ground.
He woke, thrashing his way out of sweat-soaked covers, and just managed to get to the toilet before throwing up.
Wiping his mouth, Dan thought sourly, Thanks for that, Dr Freud.
Nite Owl sleepwalked through their patrol, drifting even further back from Rorschach’s new comfort zone. He resisted the temptation to join in his fights and just observed the pattern: the usual brilliant melee, then the hesitation. Playing with his mask instead of paying any attention to the people trying to kill him. Then he’d rally, finish them off, and go looking for another opponent. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Hours later, when he judged the mistakes were starting to come from exhaustion instead of deliberate sloppiness, Nite Owl insisted they call it a night. He was surprised, but grateful, when Rorschach followed him into Archimedes without a word.
Dan thought again of his mother, with a guilty pang. He never had accepted her well meaning lesson, really, even after he became Nite Owl, one of the hunters. He still left bowls of kibble out for the feral cats on his block; he bought catering-sized bags of sugar cubes every month. He rejoiced a little bit each time one of them let him get closer, even though he knew eventually he wouldn’t be able to stop himself. He’d reach out, try to caress the unkept fur like it belonged to something fat and domesticated, and probably lose a finger.
He yanked off the cowl and goggles as soon as they were airborne and set the ship on autopilot. Dan suddenly wanted to have this out here, now, so he didn’t have to watch whatever might happen tonight.
He whipped around in his chair, expecting to find Rorschach pacing by the back exit, instead of directly behind him with one hand raised to touch his shoulder. A gloved finger brushed his bare chin, and they both jumped back.
“Boo,” Dan said self-consciously, levering himself back off the console. “Didn’t see you there.”
“Hmph. Obviously.” Rorschach took a deep breath. “Apologies for startling you. Wasn’t my intention.”
“Just make some noise when you move. Or I’ll have to tie a bell on you.”
Rorschach took a step back. “A…bell?”
“Like the old nursery tale – the one with the cat? All the mice…er, nevermind.”
Dan cast about for the right opening line. This was more words than he’d gotten out of his partner in weeks, and he was wasting them discussing fables?
Rorschach surprised him by nodding. “All the mice decide to put a bell on the cat so he’d not be a threat, and the oldest one asks them who will do it.”
He shrugged defensively, while Dan reminded himself that ‘gape-mouthed village idiot’ wasn’t an attractive look on a man in tights. “I liked Aesop’s fables when I was young. Like Dostoyevsky, right and wrong always clear.”
Dan struggled to process the mental image of Rorschach, trench coat and suit liberally splattered with someone else’s blood, cross-legged in a leather library chair with a pipe somehow clenched in his teeth through the mask, leisurely perusing the worthy literature Dan had trudged through in college. And resisted the petty urge to change the subject to aeronautics.
Focus, Nite Owl.
“Yeah,” he began, frantically trying to remember something, anything from Philosophy 101. “Speaking of right and wrong…I haven’t been a very good partner, and I want to set that right.”
Rorschach was suddenly standing very, very still. “No, that’s not –”
Dan shook his head. “Please, hear me out. I need to say this.”
Rorschach folded his arms, radiating tension, but nodded once.
Slightly encouraged, Dan forged ahead. “I know there’s something wrong. It’s obviously been wrong for a while now. And I haven’t made the effort to find out what it is. I do that, I let things fester, and I shouldn’t. It’s cowardice.”
Rorschach shook his head. “You’re a good man, Daniel. Not a coward.”
Dan relaxed slightly. “Glad to hear that. Actually, I thought maybe you were getting sick of me, wanted to partner up with someone else.”
He chuckled nervously. “Ridiculous. Right?”
“Ridiculous,” his partner whispered. He sounded out of breath.
“So…what’s the problem, then?” Dan pressed. “I know there is one.”
“I’m fixing it,” Rorschach muttered, turning away to stare at the wall.
“If you don’t tell me what it is, I can’t help,” Dan said. “And I want to help. I’m going a little crazy here that I don’t know what to do, to be honest. And…no offence…you’ve been distracted, and not watching my back. Rorschach – ”
Dan’s throat closed as his partner heaved an impatient sigh and yanked at his mask, losing his nerve at the halfway point and settling it on the bridge of his nose. He rubbed at the exposed stubble and spoke through his fingers.
“Walter,” he corrected quietly.
Dan nodded, comprehending and inappropriately elated. Not a mask problem, then, a personal one. The other man’s fingers trembled where they covered his face.
“Walter,” Dan repeated, touching his partner’s shoulder.
Wrong move. Walter stepped out from under the hand, dragging his mask back down. It was Rorschach who told him, “I don’t want to talk about this now. Not here.”
“Rorschach – ”
A softer, exhaustion-laced voice finished the conversation: “Daniel, I have to be at work in four hours.”
So Dan, the limousine liberal who had no reason not to sleep all day, could only shut his mouth and take them in toward home. Rorschach didn’t wait for Daniel to even turn off the engine before practically running out the back.
“Goddammit, Walter – I’m your partner!” he muttered at the retreating back, belatedly covering his mouth as the figure paused. Dan fumbled his goggles on, hoping to catch a responding nod or wave, but he was already gone.
“Ears like a bat,” Dan groused, dreading the wait he had ahead of him, dreading more what lay at the end of it.
He started to strip off his uniform, brightening just a little as he thought: Walter. Weird name for a young guy, but it fits him. It thrums with moral rectitude.
Well, he told me that, at least. That’s getting somewhere.
And if we keep saving each other’s asses for the next ten years, maybe I’ll be privileged to know his last name, too. Another twenty, and there’s a slim chance I’ll learn what color eyes he’s hiding under there. And hell, go for broke – if there’s crime to be fought in the nursing home, maybe by then I’ll get to find out how far those freckles on his cheeks go down, or at least play connect-the-liver-spots!
Dan flung his cape into a corner and covered his face, groaning. Not that, not now.
The one thing Dan knew for sure was that Rorschach would kill him if he could read minds, especially what wonderfully filthy images lingered there a half-hour or so after patrols. Or if he ever found out what happened to that pair of gloves he left in the Owlship months before.
Daniel, stripped to his underwear, flipped on the monitor and waited miserably for the show.
* * *
Blake poured himself an early morning nightcap and slithered out of his armor. It wasn’t going to be one of those mornings, which was definitely not disappointing. The lead in the pit of his stomach was a result of him foolishly coming here every night for days on end. He had a dozen safe houses around the city for a reason – you could be tracked all too easily with only one place to call home.
Which is why he rolled for his gun when someone kicked in the door, throwing the closest projectile – which happened to be a nearly full bottle of scotch – at the invader without checking who it might be. He was already picturing an anonymous figure, nondescript clothes and a balaclava-covered head, and came within a hair’s breadth of putting six rounds into the faceless attacker before the shifting pattern forced its way through the mental image.
“Well, shit,” he huffed, relieved, but you coulda knocked was shoved back down his throat as the other man grabbed at the bare skin of his chest and pushed him into the closet door.
“You said this would work!” the other man growled – literally growled, an octave below his usual speaking voice. “Keep the perversion, the ugliness…quarantined. Away.”
Blake pushed him off, acutely aware of his lack of armor and bare feet. Not afraid, no, even if the younger man suddenly talked like Satan with a full-body dose of prickly heat.
“It’s making it…worse,” Rorschach choked out. “All the time, now, these thoughts, these disgusting – ”
“Hey,” Blake interrupted, dredging up a confident smile he in no way felt. He stepped close to the other man, forcing him back. “You’re not the first – ”
“ – these vile feelings, wants, turning my stomach, can’t even sleep, or I wake up…I wake up…I can’t sleep – ”
“Look, calm down – ”
“ – could resist it before, could be…a good man…of sorts…a good partner…but now – ”
Blake shoved him back onto the bed, cutting off the rush of words. “Look kid, you’re not the first person in the world to suffer through a little crush.”
“It’s not – ”
“It is. That’s all. And I can tell you, half the city would have keeled over if being obsessed with me was all that fatal. So calm down and – ”
Blake blinked up at the ceiling, belatedly recognising the feel of cheap carpet tickling his shoulder blades as the other man swam into view above him.
“Not you,” the apparition growled, raising one fist.
* * *
“Yes, oh yes!” Dan yelled at the monitor, struggling into his tights and pushing the start-up sequence as quickly as he dared. “Kill that son of a bitch!”
Why why why did I not leave Archie running? I could be halfway there now…
He listened to the engine cycle in despair. Still too cold, and the stabilisers would take at least another couple of minutes to be fully on-line…
Watching the Comedian pace for over an hour had almost put him to sleep, but he felt now like he’d chugged two gallons of coffee. He knew he’d pay for it later, and he also knew it was all happening too quickly, he’d never make it in time to affect the outcome either way, but he had to try.
It was almost daybreak, but raining buckets outside. Plenty of cloud cover to zip through, and everyone would be watching puddles near their feet, not the sky.
He wished he’d thought to plant a microphone with the camera. Rorschach would have remembered that. As it was, he had no sound and could only observe two slivers of the darkened room. It was enough to see he’d pushed his partner into doing something stupid, and brave, and still very very stupid.
The two men grappled on the floor, and Dan’s heart sank as the older man succeeded in knocking Rorschach aside, then got both hands around his throat.
“No, no…you bastard, don’t you – ” he thumped the console, willing the yellow lights to turn green. “C’mon!”
* * *
I’m not going to kill him, Blake told himself, digging in with his thumbs and feeling the spirit gum on his mask peel away from one eyebrow. I’m not going to kill him.
He banged the other man’s head on the floor, the hands around his wrists loosening slightly.
I’m not going to kill him.
The mask’s pattern shifted and spread anxiously, black shapes bloating out like an oil spill. Blake released one hand to touch it, half hypnotised by the asymmetrical tendril that followed his fingertip, and the other man frantically wheezed in air.
I’m not going to kill him, Blake thought again, and finally believed the words. He wanted to kill him. No, actually, he wanted to bind and gag him and make him watch while Blake fucked the life out of his partner, Chicken Legs begging for it and generally blubbering with erotic ecstasy into his big girl tights.
Shit, Blake thought, easing off Rorschach’s neck. It was definitely time to put in for another assignment. Somewhere out East – desert or jungle, he didn’t care. Too much exposure to the soft Greenwich Village gang was making him a little fruity.
The restless tapping of the door on its broken frame reminded him that they were still exposed to the world. Blake kicked it shut and shoved the bureau over to brace it.
He picked the other man up by his lapels and dropped him on the mattress. Rorschach kicked at him weakly, still fighting for breath – Blake felt a tired flash of pride even as he sat on the other man’s legs – and struggled up on his elbows. Blake pushed him flat.
“Just be still, willya?” He undid the coat’s buckle and spread it open, placing his palm on Rorschach’s heaving chest. “Just breathe.”
* * *
Just call the police, Dan thought, yanking on his boots. Just say I’m in the room next to them, sounds of a struggle…
But the police would wait until they were sure any violence was well over before showing up in that neighborhood. And the Comedian was a government operative – he’d just be calling in the son of a bitch’s clean-up crew for him.
No…no…just hang on, Walter…
Most of the lights were green. Good enough. Dan punched it, ignoring the whining chorus of stressed metal, and risked taking his eyes off the monitor long enough to zoom through the disused subway tunnel and up through the warehouse above, scraping the metal doors on both sides. Up then, into the disgruntled patter of fat raindrops, compensating for the frozen stabilizers, wrenching the control around toward the southwest, before he could spare an eye for the monitor…
“And what the fuck do you think you’re doing?” he yelled.
Archie rolled sickeningly as Dan jerked closer to the monitor, pulling the controls with him. He corrected the dive shakily and hit the autopilot button as soon as the ship was stable, returning his attention to the horrifying sight of the Comedian trying to strip the clothes from his partner’s body.
He wanted nothing more than to hit the accelerator, scream down on that miserable hovel like vengeance’s fist and bash in the wall, snatch up his partner, fly them both back to safety. Something held him back, though, and only a very small part of that was the knowledge that he’d only destroy Archie and the buildings below him if he tried to manage the complex controls while this agitated.
Mostly, he just froze while the Comedian managed to remove the suit jacket and unfasten his pants before Rorschach fought him, and the Comedian held his hands up in a conciliatory gesture, while he got off the bed to rummage in something Dan couldn’t see, and his partner didn’t take the chance to run. While the Comedian shucked off what remained of his own clothes, except the mask, and his partner didn’t move off the bed. While the Comedian’s movements, only half visible behind the vent’s slats, looked surreally like a man leisurely applying a condom in preparation for responsible sexual intercourse, which Dan’s mind refused to process, and his partner didn’t leap for the door.
Maybe he’s unconscious. He probably is, actually – strangled, then hyperventilating, body shuts down. And that power-tripping bastard’s gonna take the chance to hit him as hard as you can hit a man.
Nite Owl forced his emotions down and focused on steadying his hands. He was going to be too late to prevent it, but he’d make the bastard pay. No time to worry now about how Daniel would put Walter back together…Nite Owl had more pressing priorities.
His fingers were centimetres from the autopilot switch when he saw Rorschach throw off the Comedian’s heavy body – yes! run, I’m coming! – only to impatiently shove down his pants. They caught around his shoes. With one great heave he kicked the whole mess to the floor, leaving only one sock behind, and straddled the other man. Impaling himself.
Nite Owl’s mouth went dry.
He wanted to be nothing more than a six-foot fist, bashing the dirty grin off that ape’s face.
Everything south of his neck was determined instead to morph into a six-foot cock and batter in the monitor.
He fought the sudden conviction that the bastard could see him, was grinning right up at him, smirking over pathetic Nite Owl junior tenting his tights, which were – he suddenly realised – on backwards.
Dan felt physically ill, shaking from lust and rage, torn between fight and flight. Balanced on a knife’s edge, he could only watch and wait to fall.
* * *
Blake pounded into the body above him, barely keeping pace with its frenetic movements. The other man moaned with every thrust as if it would kill him, but Blake was too far gone to care if the entire block heard them.
He reached up to run his hands along the mask, feeling high cheekbones and tightly clenched eyelids, and the other man didn’t push his hands away.
Blake pulled him down into to his chest, feeling the other man spurt into the tight space of their skin.
“Daniel,” he groaned into Blake’s neck, the sound heavy with misery and regret. “Oh god, Daniel…”
Blake pushed the back of the mask up enough to bury his nose in the bright hair.
“Shush,” he whispered, thrusting gently, until he climaxed thinking of a sunlit room and a yellow bedspread, long ago.
The other man didn’t immediately move away when Blake eased himself out, wiping their combined sweat from his chest. “Tell me how to fix this,” he whispered desperately.
Blake sighed and tapped his shoulder, signalling he should move. “Sorry, kid. You’ve already heard all the advice I have to give. You’re on your own.”
He watched the other man get dressed, handing him the hat from under the bed.
“I’m going away – more important duties call, I’m afraid,” Blake said brusquely, startling him. “Probably not safe to come here anymore, anyway.”
Rorschach nodded, pulling on the trench coat. He hesitated, then offered his hand.
Blake took it, quirking a smile at the other’s solemnity while shaking hands with a naked guy who still sported half a chubby. “You’ll do fine,” he offered impulsively, “I have faith in you.”
* * *
Daniel came over his hand, despising himself. He cleaned himself off as best he could and watched as Rorschach pulled himself back together like a doll somehow dressing itself and left, as the Comedian dressed and stripped the place of everything Dan had found earlier. The room had been vacant and still for ten minutes when Dan shut Archie down for the day and stumbled toward bed.
He’d seen everything. And still didn’t know anything.