[personal profile] brancher
TITLE: Teshuva pt. 4
FANDOM: Watchmen
PAIRING: Dan/Rorschach/Laurie, heavy on the Rorschach/Laurie
SUMMARY: Part of the Triage series. Teshuva: (hebrew) repentence, commitment to change, confession; a return.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

As you'll recall, our heroine had just come home to a Walter-less apartment...

For a moment she's so startled that she laughs (her usual first reaction to catastrophe).

The sound bounces back at her from the empty room.

There are no signs of a struggle; no signs of anything except the empty cereal bowl in the sink. Maybe he got hungry. Maybe he went for groceries. She does a quick sweep of the place just to be sure, but he's not in the bathroom, not in the closet, not out on the fire escape. She eels out the window and clatters down three stories into the alley below and it's dark, rain pissing down now. "Walter?" She feels like an idiot shouting his name, banging up and down the alley, checking the dumpsters and the trash bins -- nothing -- then peering out onto the street. He's not there. She checks the next alley over, and then the one on the other side of the building, spiraling out, but the streets are all empty. Then she thinks, the roof, and pounds back up the fire escape. But he's not there either, and the rooftops are empty in all directions.

Fuck this, she thinks. There is rainwater in her boots and trickling down into her jacket. The longer she stays out here, she thinks, the stupider she's going to feel when he turns back up. Fuck him, anyway. Manipulative little bastard; he can find someone else to be his goddamn vigilante AA sponsor.

Inside she moodily shucks the wet clothes, stripping down to her bra and briefs, and heats up some pre-packaged ramen. It's too salty, but she eats it anyway. The second time she catches herself checking the window, she goes over and shuts it.

She reads her latest issue of "Guns and Ammo" for a while.

Around midnight, she puts on a Clash album and works out for a while with the bag, hitting it hard enough to make the record skip.

He'll come back on his own, she thinks, jabbing the bag and setting it swinging. He's like a stray cat. He'll come back when he's hungry.

Her fist slams into the bag. No reason to worry. She catches it with a solid kick on the backswing. It's not like he hasn't pulled this before --

Oh shit, but what is she going to tell Dan? She's lost Rorschach and she's going to have to tell Dan. And he'll say, Why did you leave him alone all day, and she'll have to say she doesn't know, it was a stupid idea in hindsight, and GOD DAMN IT.

She stops, panting. She's sweating, and she doesn't like the way it smells -- like anxiety, not exercise. She runs a hand through her bangs, catches the bag and stills it.

Fuck it. There's nothing to do about it tonight. Maybe he'll be back by morning, and it will be morning soon enough; she might as well get some sleep. Her bra is sticking uncomfortably to her skin, so she peels it off and goes over to pull down the bed.

And a man tumbles out of it, a heap of limbs and skin, and she screams. He looks up at her, at her bare breasts covered in sweat, and his eyes widen, and he screams too.

"AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!"

"AAAAAAARRRHHHHHHHHHH!"

They stop at approximately the same moment, and stare at each other, and then Laurie says "You ASSHOLE," and jumps on him.

***

Extremities tingle as blood flows back, the rest of him catching the blows of Laurel's small sharp fists. She pummels his ribs, his shoulders, but not with her full force. Yelling at him, but he doesn't understand why.

"You -- I thought -- don't you ever --"

Then her hands are on the sides of his face, and the warm soft hole of her mouth presses down on him; swipe of tongue, saliva, teeth. It's too much, and he brings his hands up to her hips, but then holds her there instead of pushing her away. Sharp teeth in his bottom lip, a small sound from his own throat. "Laurel," he manages. "Wait --"

"What the HELL," she says. "You -- you lunatic. I thought you were gone. I thought you'd walked out on us again." She pulls back, but their foreheads are still almost touching, and he can feel her hot breath on his lips. "What the hell were you thinking?"

"Here the whole time. Didn't walk out."

"Oh? What was it, a five-week sabbatical?"

She's not talking about the bed anymore. He doesn't know what to say, so he waits.

"I mean, jesus. You could have sent us a god-damn postcard. Do you have any idea how worried -- how sick I felt --" She stops, and draws a deep breath. "Dan was a mess, and I couldn't fix it, and I thought that was it for us, I'd fucked it all up -- Damn it."

She buries her face against his neck, and he finds his hand running up her back: bare skin, the rough line of a scar. "Walter," she says.

"Didn't think it was right to stay," he mutters. "Didn't want to ask -- Already taken more than my share..."

"Oh god, shut up," she says, and then she's pulling him close. Her hair is cool on the backs of his hands as she kisses his neck, his jaw. He's between her knees, the soft fabric of her sweatpants bunching under his palms, and he realizes belatedly that he's taken hold of her ass with both hands and pulled her flush against him. He wants to -- he shoves that thought away, even as she presses him back against the bed, braces her arms on either side of his head, and tangles her hands in his hair. He feels the heavy warmth of her breasts against his chest.

She's brushing her lips against his, back and forth. "I missed you," she whispers.

He tries to speak, but his throat locks up, and before he can get it working she covers his mouth again, pushing her tongue in. He goes tense -- a breach, distortion of boundaries, squirming things breeding indiscriminately in gutters and bare bedrooms -- but he forces that thought away, too, thinks Laurel, this is Laurel. Her tongue is moving against his, shaping phonemes of unknown language, given voice in his soft moans.

He holds himself still under her, tries to listen to what she's telling him with her tongue. Little by little it becomes familiar. You can read people's lies in their bodies, he learned that early and he's made it an art, but her body doesn't lie.

When she tugs him to roll over he pulls away, to look at her; she's flushed and disheveled, strands of her dark hair stuck to her forehead and cheeks and to her neck, caught without makeup or artifice, and he bends to kiss her on her collarbone, and she tastes like salt.

"Ok?" she asks, reaching to cup his face and pull him back up. Her eyes are the same color as his, dark brown.

He says, "I didn't know."

"That's all right," she says. "You know now."


***

"And then it turned out he was folded up in the bed, the whole time," she tells Dan at the pay-phone booth the next day. "Almost gave me a fucking heart attack."

"Oh, god. Yeah, he does stuff like that," Dan says. "I came home one time to find him all curled up in the dryer. I think he just likes small, enclosed spaces."

She laughs, hoping he doesn't hear the guilt in her voice. She'd fallen asleep with Walter's head on her chest, but she can't quite bring herself to tell Dan. "Did you find anything out yesterday?" she asks instead.

"Yeah," he says. "Yeah, I think I did. I'm going on a field trip."

***


Part Five


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