It was hard to tell which was worse: the glaring white-enameled chaos of the Emergency Room, or the fact that Rorschach had to be there. Or rather, Walter. It was Walter who got injured beyond a point he could work past as Rorschach – Walter who'd been unlucky enough to be standing in just the wrong place when a trainee lost control of a pallet full of fabric that crushed him against a wall. He supposed he was lucky one of the rolls fell in front of the jack's wheels and stopped it before it did more than crack his ribs – at least two, judging from the vivid sense-memories that were re-playing annoyingly in his head as he waited.
Noise is a constant. Organic, fabricated, rhythmic, chaotic. Steps on the stairs outside the door - stomping, running, shuffling, stumbling. Voices, all the time, at all hours. Shouting. Laughing. Crying. Cursing. Screaming. Fists and chairs and headboards against walls. Water groaning and knocking through pipes. Wind and rain and street noise seeping through windows and past open doors. Floorboards and walls popping and creaking with age and movement. Vermin scavenging. Radios. Record players. Doors.
His dreams, when he has them, are mercifully silent.
Here Comes the Rain
Rain cleanses nothing here. What it does do is wipe away t
[Ten challenge fic drabbles, multiple fandoms.]
A double-breasted suit straight out of the 1940s, made to measure. Suspenders and a stubbornly white dress shirt. Scarf at the throat, always in a knot. Always. Brown leather gloves scarred at knuckles and fingertips. Brown fedora, drawn low over invisible eyes. Trench coat with seemingly bottomless pockets. Old but well-pedigreed boots showing miles upon miles of walking (and climbing, and fighting) underneath their careful polish they've been re-soled at least twice. The mask, the on
"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 apprec
The children know his name, but they don't say it. To say his name is to call him, and you only do that if you really mean it - if you really need him. Those are the rules.
(The adults didn't believe, not at first. Their children had simply been lost, and afraid, and their imaginations ran away with them. Only when enough bloodstains had been found, when enough parents caught their children conversing with shadows, did they begin to wonder.)
He only comes to children - to the lost, the endangered. The ones who can't run to safety are found sound asleep wherever they were being held, small peaceful islands at the epicenter of absolute