Published: October 10, 2011
"R--" He caught himself just in time and modulated his voice to a much quieter volume. "Why are you calling me?"
"Wanted to apologize. Phone idea wasn't stupid. Was not at optimum performance last patrol, let tension carry over into our conversation. My initial assessment was hastily formed."
"Well... thanks. But - why are you using this number and not, uh. Not my other one?" Dan cringed, wondering how many people around could hear his side of the conversation and assumed he was talking to a mistress. Rorschach would be livid at the association, he was certain.
"Tried. You didn't answer. Important."
"Well, I appreciate that..." A lot, really, considering apologies from Rorschach were about as rare as sightings of Halley's Comet.
Rorschach preempted his next question, sounding slightly impatient and... reluctant? "Apology was not only reason for call."
"Are you--" No, he didn't sound hurt, Dan realized, and figured he'd best just get to the point. "What do you need?"
"Where are you?"
"On my way back from the drugstore."
"Need you at stakeout location from last Thursday. Very important."
"Do I need to, er, change clothes?" God, this conversation was getting worse and worse, and Dan tried to walk as quickly as he could to avoid any potential audience overhearing.
"Unnecessary. Will call again in twenty minutes with further instructions." And with that, the line went dead.
"R- Wait - dammit!" He'd have to run to make it, and hope for a maniacal cabbie.
Nineteen and a half minutes later he stood outside the warehouse they'd staked out last week, wondering just what the hell was going on. They'd cleared the place out, but Rorschach had suspected there was more evidence stashed somewhere. They just hadn't been able to figure out where it could have wound up. Dan assumed he'd found a new lead, although why he was pursuing it in broad daylight was beyond him.
Right on cue, his phone rang as he stood outside the door. "Hello?"
"You here, Daniel?"
"Yeah, I'm here."
"Come inside. All clear. Stay on the line."
Feeling somewhat ridiculous in his civilian clothes just walking right into the place they'd spent hours reconning, Dan opened the door and looked around the vast empty space. "Where are you?" he whispered.
Hanging upside-down by one leg was his partner in a freshly-triggered booby trap they'd obviously missed. One hand gripped the beam above him to keep him from dangling head-down; the other hand held the cell phone Dan had wheedled him into taking. The same one Rorschach had scoffed at as "unsafe" and "unnecessary".
"Uh. Hi there, buddy." Dan couldn't help grinning as he peered up.
"Hello, Daniel." Rorschach sounded remarkably unruffled, considering.
"Need a hand?"
"Assistance would be useful."
Dan headed for the stairs, looking for a way to free his friend. "Just be happy I haven't figured out all the optics to install a camera in these things just yet..."
- th'end -